Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - February 2016

Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Lucy Walsh and Mary Cuthbert Memorial Tournament

Dan Rugman reports:

The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, is rapidly becoming a second home to our members, most especially our membership secretary, who was to be found there a week earlier playing in another tournament held at the same venue. Fortunately, he was able to pull up his roots and is once again to be found in the West Midlands, which is surely more appropriate.

The weekend was held in memory of Lucy Walsh and Mary Cuthbert, and we were delighted to be joined by Lucy’s son, Gerry, and Mary’s husband, Jim. Sadly, a few weeks before the event, we also learnt of the passing of Juliet Reeve, another active supporter of our endeavours. Their absence was most keenly felt during the Saturday night soirée. This entertainment, kindly organised by Clare Gailans, was a highly enjoyable affair with many members taking part. There were also a few surprises. Julie (arbiter and gazette editor) brought the house down with her reworking of a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. I was always of the opinion that "Favourite Things" was sung by a young woman trying to face her fears. On Julie's mindset I cannot comment, but Disney is always looking for good lyricists. She even found a rhyme for Benoni! "Favourite Openings" will also remain a classic. The other big surprise was the unannounced appearance of Jim Cuthbert who led us in a sing-a-long. It's difficult to say who was more surprised, the audience or Tanvi, whose improvisational skills were certainly put to the test. Jim's late wife, Mary, was always a tour de force in BCA soirées, and his contribution was a memorable one.

The hotel staff were, once again, helpful and friendly. As a guide dog owner, I can certainly testify to this. They were always quick to assist the canine call of nature and had set aside an area of the grounds, actually called the secret garden, for this purpose. I have never met a dog that felt the need for secrecy in these matters but I am sure the more bashful dog owners appreciated it.

Special thanks must go to Mark Hague and Lea Ryan who did an excellent job of organising the weekend. I'm sure they enjoyed their Sunday evening meal which I believe was the first one to be uninterrupted by administrative matters. Thanks must also go to Celia Gibbs and Moira Whittle who took on the job of running the raffle and raised an admirable £123. Moira may want to have words with Les who dubbed the two raffleteers "the muggers!" I must also make a personal note to bring more cash with me next time as my meagre five strips was not enough to secure me a single biscuit.

So finally, the chess! The proceedings were superbly presided over by Julie Leonard and Matthew Carr as arbiters, with Mike Murphy as steward. War was waged, blood, sweat, tears and glasses of water were spilt, and we went into round five with both sections still contested.

John Carroll led the Challengers on 3½, chased by myself and Mark Hague on 3, with George Phillips and Jim Cuthbert in hot pursuit on 2½. I was too tired for any Winawer randomness, and so chose a quieter reply to John's French defence. I have dubbed it the back-foot attack, and it gave me the opportunity to spend half the game untangling a horribly cramped position. All things considered, I was happy with the eventual draw. George and Jim both won their games which left John in first place and George, Jim and I in joint second.

Chris Ross led the Open on 3½, chased by John Gallagher on 3 and Mark Kirkham and Norman Wragg on 2½. John beat Norman putting him on 4 leaving first place to be decided by the board 1 game between Chris and Mark. My own exploits in the Challengers prevented me from seeing this game but it apparently swung both ways with Mark eventually emerging as the victor. The bookies went home in a sulk with John in first place and Chris and Mark in joint second.

Who said chess was boring!



1st on 4 points: John Gallagher

=2nd on 3.5 points: Chris Ross, Mark Kirkham

3 points: Bill Armstrong (winner of Grading Prize A)

2.5 points: Hugo Roman (Belgium), Peter Gibbs, Ernie McElroy (Ireland),

Michael Delaney (Ireland), Norman Wragg (winner of Grading Prize B)

2 points: Philip Doyle (Ireland), Norman Andrews, Ian Blencowe

1.5 points: Sean Loftus (Ireland)

1 point: Steve Thacker


1st on 4 points: John Carroll (Ireland)

=2nd on 3.5 points: George Phillips, Dan Rugman, Jim Cuthbert

3 points: Mark Hague, Voldi Gailans (winner of Grading Prize A)

2.5 points: Gary Wickett

2 points: Gill Smith, Mike Lowery (winner of Grading Prize B)

1 point: Richard Harrington, Eleanor Tew

0.5 point: Paul Brookes

The result of the following game allowed John Gallagher to clinch the tournament with his final round win against Norman Wragg.

Round 5: Ross v Kirkham

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. O-O O-O 7. d3 d5 8. Nbd2 Bd7 9. Re1 Qc7

10. Nf1 d4 11. h3 e5 12. N3h2 b5 13. f4 Bd6 14. f5 a5 15. g4 h6 16. h4 Be7 17. g5 hxg5 18. hxg5 Nh7

19. Qh5 Be8 20. Bh3 Nb4 21. f6 Bxf6 22. gxf6 Nxf6 23. Qd1 Bd7 24. Bxd7 Qxd7 25. Re2 c4 26. a3 Nc6

27. Rg2 Ne7 28. Ng3 Qh3 29. Qf1 Ng6 30. Nf5 Qh5 31. Rg5 Qh7 32. Rg3 Nh5 33. Rh3 Ngf4 34. Bxf4 exf4

35. Qf3 g6 36. Ng4 f6 37. Nh4 Ra7 38. Ng2 f5 39. exf5 Rxf5 40. Re1 Qg7 41. Re8+ Kh7 42. Nh4 Rg5

43. Re2 cxd3 44. cxd3 Rc7 45. Kh2 Rcc5 46. Nf2 Rg3 47. Qe4 Re3 Black offered a draw

48. Rexe3 fxe3 49. Nh1 Re5 50. Qxd4 e2 51. Ng2 e1=Q 52. Nxe1 Re2+ 53. Qf2 White offered a draw

53 … Rxf2 54. Nxf2 Qe5+ 55. Kg2 Qxe1 56. Rh1 Qe3 57. b4 axb4 58. axb4 Kg7 59. Rd1 Nf4+ 60. Kf1 Qf3

61. d4 Nh3 62. Rd2 Nxf2 63. Rxf2 Qd3+ 64. Kg2 Qxd4 0-1