Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 2009

Sponsored by The Primary Club
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.

Chess Theme Week at Windermere

The 16th Chess Theme Week was held at The Windermere Manor Hotel, Windermere, from 24th to 31st January 2009. In total, 30 people attended. Of these, 7 provided coaching and 13 received coaching. The other 10 worked steadily behind the scenes to ensure a delightful week was had by all. As usual, the week was organised by Celia and Peter Gibbs and, also as usual, they made an absolutely splendid job of the task.

Theoretically we were there for the chess theme, and this certainly played a part. We had the chess coaching, chess tournament and a simultaneous event. Coaching was provided by Peter Gibbs, Tyson Mordue, Colin Chambers, Les Whittle, Ernie McElroy, Sean Loftus and Norman Andrews. Towards the end of the coaching I lost a game to one of my trainees, Jim Cuthbert. Does this make me a good coach or a bad one!!

The trainees were divided into three groups for the tournament. Unfortunately, due to illness, Garry Wickett was unable to participate.

Section A: Steve Thacker won with a maximum of 3 points, Jim Cuthbert finished 2nd with 2 points, Bob Brown was 3rd with 1 point and Allen Richardson 4th with 0 points.

Section B: there was a triple tie for 1st place on 2 points between Chris Brown, Stanley Saunders and Michael Meaney. Dorothy Hodges finished 4th with 0 points.

Section C: George Phillips won with a maximum score of 3 points, followed by Richard Harrington on 2 points, Ann Saunders on 1 point and Shane Hall on 0 points.

The Section winners then played in the final group for the cup. The 2009 tournament was won by Steve Thacker with a maximum of 4 points. Congratulations Steve. George Phillips came 2nd with 3 points and Michael Meaney 3rd with 2 points. Stan Saunders scored 1 point and Chris Brown scored 0 points. Well done all of you.

The Chess Theme Week started at The Cliffden Hotel, but latterly has always taken place at The Windermere Manor Hotel. The 15 previous winners of the tournament are given below. Sadly this hall of fame includes friends no longer with us:- 1994 Des Watkins; 1995 Geoff Patching; 1996 Shirley Watkins; 1997 Geoff Patching; 1998 Geoff Patching; 1999 Eric Gallacher; 2000 Alan Davey; 2001 Alan Davey; 2002 Steve Thacker; 2003 George Plechaty; 2004 George Plechaty and Phil Gordon; 2005 Steve Thacker; 2006 Phil Gordon; 2007 George Phillips; 2008 George Phillips and Steve Thacker.

The chess element of the week was strongly flavoured by a variety of social activities, which included evening entertainment and day time excursions. There were bingo sessions organised by Mary Cuthbert and the hotel, quizzes organised by Sheila Milsom and the hotel, an outside entertainer who had quite a few old creaking bones on the dance floor, our own entertainment organised by Joan Shorrock who had a wealth of talent at her disposal, etc. The outings included trips to Hawkeshead, a boat trip on Derwent Water plus picnic aboard, the Hayes Garden Centre and Wordsworth’s Grassmere.

Is chess an art, is it a science, is it a sport or just a hobby? Whatever the answer, it was certainly the driving force behind an excellent week at the Windermere Manor Hotel. In case you are tempted by my enthusiasm, the 17th such event will be at the same venue next year from 23rd to 30th January. The full cost is £322. Book early to avoid disappointment and, of course, to gain the 10% discount price of £289.80.

Colin Chambers.