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.

David Gibbs

BCA member, David Gibbs, passed away on 29th January. He was a lovely, jolly soul and will be much missed.

Originally from Bristol, David later moved to Cardiff with his wife, Monica, but he never lost his West Country burr! An interest that David shared with Monica was lawn bowls. They both joined the Cardiff Bowling Club and became trustees of the Welsh Association of Visually Impaired Bowlers. David represented both England and Wales in the UK Visually Impaired Singles and at the World Bowls.

David began supporting BCA over the board events many years ago. I remember David and Monica, attending the Minor Championship, as it was then called, in Paignton in the mid 1990s and I daresay other members will recall David playing in tournaments further back than that as well.

Postal chess was also something that David enjoyed. He competed in the BCA Postal British Championship and the Ladder event as well as in the league. In 1998 he was promoted to League Division 1, where he remained until he stopped playing by post in 2010.

In 2009 David picked up a grading prize at the BCA British Championship in Weston-super-Mare and this seems to have inspired him to return to our over the board events. He competed in no fewer than seven tournaments since that time including various AGM and Autumn weekenders, other BCA British Championships and the Stephen Eastwick-Field Memorial or the Chairman’s Cup as it is now known. He travelled to all points of the compass to attend our events; from Harrogate to Bournemouth, and Morecambe to Scarborough, with Derby in between! In recent years his greatest success in the BCA was winning the Minor section of the Chairman’s Cup in Bournemouth 2012 with an impressive six points from seven games. Monica often travelled with David and sometimes other family members came along too. Granddaughter, Rachel Rees, accompanied David and Monica on several occasions. David’s stepson, David Mears, even played in our Autumn Tournament in Harrogate in 2011. The two Davids were paired against each other in round one and on that occasion youth triumphed!

Chess moves were not the only sort of moves that David enjoyed. He also delighted in moving around a dance floor and loved dancing with Monica on nights out. David Mears recalls how he himself had been confined to bed with food poisoning while holidaying in Spain and he awoke to find David and Monica dancing on the bed next to him. Now I’m not suggesting that they weren’t sympathetic to the younger David’s plight, but they clearly didn’t like to miss any opportunity to trip the light fantastic. One can only speculate as to how the poorly David felt about this and people may wonder whether that first round defeat in Harrogate 2011 was part of his revenge! I couldn’t possibly comment on that, but I reckon that the David who is sadly no longer with us would have had a good old chuckle at the notion!

David left behind Monica, David Mears and his siblings, Anne, Adrian and Mark.

Many thanks to David Mears for providing some of the details used in this article. Sincere condolences to the whole family.

Julie Leonard