Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - February 2018

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.


Regular readers of the gazette will know that for the first issue of each year I like to take editorial inspiration from the Chinese zodiac and this year is no exception. The Chinese Year of the Dog will start on the 16th February. We know our canine companions as “Man’s Best Friend”, so it’s no surprise to learn that in Chinese culture people born in the Year of the Dog are considered to be honest, faithful and sincere. They enjoy helping people and give generously when in a relationship.

Many BCA members experience the aforementioned qualities every day in their partnership with their guide dog. These amazing animals exhibit an incredible sense of duty and loyalty. Many centuries ago, whoever coined the phrase “Let sleeping dogs lie” can hardly have foreseen the scenario where a guide dog dozes for hours under a chess table while their owner plays a game, yet it is a common occurrence at BCA gatherings and one which never fails to impress me. Such patience and devotion is truly remarkable. Guide dogs are of course most welcome at BCA events and we hope that many will be in attendance at the tournaments advertised in Forthcoming Events. Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control, the Jan Lovell Memorial Chairman’s Cup will now take place one day earlier and at a different Bournemouth venue.

In these pages, Voldi encourages members to take up the offer of coaching. This isn’t just for the juniors! It’s never too late to teach an old chess dog some new tactics! And if your play improves, you might have a game to enter into the Annual Best Game competition! Details of how to do so are in this issue. Why not give it a go? After all, every dog must have his day and yours could be in 2018!

Overall, this issue has a distinctly retrospective air to it. There is a charming article in which a member reminisces about the way chess was played in the 1950s, while at the same time emphasising the importance of thinking ahead. You can also find out why two BCA newshounds set off early one snowy morn and journeyed to Weymouth where, with dogged determination, they sifted through some fifty year old archives of the Dorset Echo! Was there a worthwhile purpose to their trip or are they just barking mad?

It was lovely that several members sent items for this issue without having been asked. If I had a tail to express my happiness it would definitely be wagging! I’m always glad to receive full articles or simple news snippets from members. Please send me your contributions for the May issue by the end of March.

Julie Leonard