Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - August 2017

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.

Obituary for Andy Lee

In memory of my friend, Andy Lee, by Steve Peters.

Andy Lee from an early age, unknown to him or his family or teachers, had Retinitis Pigmentosa, the commonest form of blindness. Because of this he had a difficult childhood at school where he had to wear thick glasses and struggled to see. Only in his late teens was he finally diagnosed with “R.P.”. Andy was never bitter about his sight loss or the fact that eventually he would lose all sight but accepted it with the courage that he showed throughout his life and enjoyed life to the full. Andy had travelled widely from India, Nepal and Israel to America, Jamaica and throughout the Mediterranean. One of the gifts Andy had acquired without realising was being a great listener and he had a great sense of humour.

I only met Andy about 5 years before he passed away, after I had lost most of my sight through having a brain tumour. When we met we instantly clicked and I admired his positive, outgoing spirit. I remember once he invited me to go with him for a meal in St. Ives in Cambridgeshire and had to get a mini bus to take us with our guide dogs. When we arrived the restaurant had had a power failure and could not serve food and so we ended up in a pub in the centre of town with our guide dogs and a gathering of locals around us and had a great time. I introduced Andy to the “BCA” and Andy had been a few times and had enjoyed it. What I will take away from my time with Andy is to make the most of what you have and not to let your disabilities hold back your ability to live life to the full. Sadly Andy Lee passed away on the 10th of March, aged 51, but he fitted a lot in to those 51 years and he will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace Andy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you brother.

Editor’s note: Andy joined the BCA towards the end of 2012 and played in his first BCA event in the spring of 2013 where he scored 3/5 and attained a grade of 65 later that year. He returned in the autumn of 2015 and won a grading prize! We shall miss him and his enthusiasm for chess.