Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - February 2008

Sponsored by The Steel Charitable Trust
Edited by Guy Whitehouse
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Six Nations Tournament, 2007

The 19th Six Nations Tournament was held in Bad Meinberg, Germany, from 3 to 7 October, 2007. The venue was a holiday home for the visually impaired and the setting was very pleasant. The accommodation, food and playing conditions were extremely good. 

Our party met up at Birmingham International Airport. The team was comprised of Steve Hilton, Colin Chambers, Les Whittle and David Hodgkins. Due to circumstances beyond her control, my wife, Barbara Chambers, had to withdraw from our party. This left Moira Whittle as our only guide and Moira more than rose to the occasion.

Unfortunately, Bad Meinberg was not the easiest place to reach. However, thanks to a great deal of travel help from Christine and Ludwig Beutelhoff we made the round trip without problems.

The six countries previously involved in the tournament were Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. However, on this occasion, France was replaced by Sweden. This substitution will probably become permanent. 

The tournament commenced on Thursday, 4th October. In round 1 G.B. lost 4 – 0 to Germany, but in round 2 G.B. beat Belgium 2.5 – 1.5. The tournament continued on Friday. In round 3 G.B. drew 2 – 2 with the Netherlands. On Friday afternoon, we enjoyed a tour of the area in a horse drawn covered wagon and the commentary made this very enjoyable.

On Saturday the tournament concluded. In round 4 G.B. lost 2.5 – 1.5 against Sweden, and in round 5 G.B. beat Switzerland 3 – 1. Every country’s position was decided by the tie break. The final standings:

Germany 9 match points 16.5 board points

Sweden 9 match points 15 board points

The Netherlands 5 match points 11 board points

Great Britain 5 match points 9 board points

Belgium 1 match point 5 board points

Switzerland 1 match point 3.5 board points.

The individual Great Britain scores: Steve Hilton 0.5, Colin Chambers 3, Les Whittle 3, David Hodgkins 2.5.

Two players achieved 100% scores, Markus Berggren (Sweden) on board 1 and Hans Jagdhuber (Germany) on board 4.

The next Six Nations Tournament is likely to be in Belgium in 2009.

The other members of the team asked me to captain the side and this was not a difficult job. I received full support from all team members and Moira Whittle made sure that we were all on parade in good time for the start of each match. Our final standing was possibly a little disappointing. This was due in part to the fact that Steve Hilton had just returned from an arduous tournament in Poland and was exhausted. Nevertheless, we all thoroughly enjoyed the tournament and our visit to Germany.

Colin Chambers.