Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - February 2012

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.

Bruce H. Birchall - 1946-2011

Editor's note: This brief item is put together from material sent in by Stan Lovell and from some snippets of information I gleaned from the English Chess Association's website.

We recently heard of the death of Bruce Birchall in March 2011 after a year in hospital. As far as I am aware, Bruce's appearances in BCA events were limited to an appearance for our 4NCL team and participation in the last rapid play event we ran in the Midland Hotel, Derby, now renamed the Hallmark Hotel. A sharp win by Bruce from that event was reproduced in the gazette.

Bruce was a tireless campaigner. In the field of chess he was an energetic organiser and supporter of junior chess and also very interested in female chess. It was Bruce's ideas that led to the introduction of Article 5.2b into the laws of chess: a game is drawn when a position has arisen in which neither player can checkmate the opponent's king with any series of legal moves. He also directed a chess-related play at the 1993 British Championships.

Perhaps, however, he was better known for his writings and campaigning on civil rights issues, where his bulldog tenacity, backed up by a formidable capacity for research, often made him unpopular with the establishment. Bruce was the producer of many theatrical productions, all with a very strong political and social theme.