Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 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.

Peter Keffler

Peter Keffler passed away on Tuesday 22nd December 2015 at 92 years of age. For many years Peter was a strong player at the Clacton Chess Club who also played county chess for Essex, Suffolk and in his earlier days for Somerset.

Following WWII, as RAF aircrew Peter worked as an interpreter, having completed a combined services course in Russian at Cambridge University. He obtained an honours degree in French and Russian at Oxford University and then did a postgraduate year for MA. He took up an academic career teaching languages in the Bath/Somerset area and later moved to the Essex area as Senior lecturer at St Osyth College.

At the peak of his chess playing Peter had good scores against many well known players with many of his games and ideas being quoted in the chess literature of the day. He made contributions to Openings such as the Two Knights Defence that were acknowledged by authoritative writers.

Peter would often combine his chess knowledge and experience to teach chess to juniors and many members of Clacton Chess Club have been grateful for the time he often spent to analyse games and encourage less experienced players to improve their game. He kept a large stock of chess literature and for many years ran a bookstall at most local and some national tournament events.

In his later years Peter succumbed to ill health, reduced mobility and gradually failing eyesight. He joined our Association and liked to talk to us about the problems of playing chess with limited eyesight. He bought a Braille chess clock for use in his games but he had difficulty in adapting to his new circumstances. He will best be remembered for the many years when he was a formidable opponent who played with great ‘style’.

Gerhard Niemand v Peter Keffler c 1970

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 Bc5 5. Bxf7+ Ke7 6. Bb3 Rf8 7. O-O d6 8. Nc3 Qe8 9. Nd5+ Kd8 10. Nxf6 gxf6 11. Nxh7 Rh8 12. Nxf6 Qg6 13. Nd5 Bg4 14. Qe1 Bf3 15. g3 Qxg3+

Editor's Note: This article is heavily based on one that appears on the Clacton Chess Club website (see The piece was written by their Webmeister, Melvin Steele, and has been reproduced and adapted for our gazette with the kind permission of Melvin and the Clacton Club Secretary, John Lambert . I am very grateful to them and also to Norman Wragg, who added some words about Peter from a BCA perspective.