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.

BCA Autumn Tournament Weekend 2017

Eleanor Tew writes:

The tournament was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, formerly the Holiday Inn, which stands in a prosperous part of Solihull a little way from the town centre. It has been re-furbished. There is a fire behind glass on the main corridor; I could feel the heat as I went past. By the entrance there was a 12-foot Christmas tree, fully decorated and lit on 27th October. There is a swimming pool, but few of us knew about it or came prepared! In the yard there is a pool with a fountain. When I set out for a short walk after breakfast on Saturday a heron was standing in the pool. It was still there when I came back.

We found our rooms very comfortable. Some of the food was very tasty, some less so. Vegetables were few. Bar food and drinks were very expensive. Service was sometimes slow, but the staff were courteous and helpful.

A record number of prizes had been brought for the raffle, which was drawn at 9 pm on Saturday to save time on Sunday. Efe and I happened to draw our own tickets, which caused amusement. The raffle raised £188.

I will not say too much about the chess. If there had been a booby prize, I should have won it. On Saturday morning several of us sat rueing our mistakes in an area of the bar which we nicknamed Blunders Corner. Peter Gibbs offered a graded friendly to anyone who had a bye. I thought I would have this privilege, but the draw was changed and I did not. Congratulations are due to all the winners, especially to young Efe Shimwell, who won the Challengers section, and thanks as always to the arbiters, steward, tournament organiser and everyone else who made the event possible.

After the tournament four of us were on the same Newcastle train formed of four coaches. The standard class passengers invaded the first class coach. The train manager could not get through to check our tickets. In the standard class coaches people were sitting on the floor. One person nearly fainted. It was a pity we could not have borrowed some of the eleven coaches which formed the Wolverhampton train!

I hope this article is good enough for a magazine which has just won an award from the English Chess Federation; if not, the editor knows what to do.

Editor’s note: I certainly do know what to do! Firstly, sincere thanks to Eleanor for her fine report. Secondly, I must issue a mild reprimand as Eleanor gave far too modest an account of her own play. As steward, I witnessed the games and I can assure readers that Eleanor put up a good fight and was unlucky not to pick up a point or two!

The final standings and scores were as follows:


5 points: Chris Ross

3.5 points: David Mabbs and Owen Phillips

3 points: Norman Wragg (Grading Prize)

2.5 points: Norman Andrews, Bill Armstrong, Ian Blencowe, Steve Burnell, Colin Chambers and Philip Doyle

2 points: Sean Loftus (Grading Prize) and Stan Lovell

1.5 points: Eamonn Casey, Mark Hague, Ernie McElroy, Richard Murphy


4.5 points: Efe Shimwell

4 points: Dan Rugman

3.5 points: George Phillips and Gary Wickett

3 points: Gill Smith (Grading Prize)

2.5 points: Voldi Gailans

2 points: Jim Cuthbert, Richard Harrington (Grading Prize), Tony Lawton and Michael Lowery

0 points: Eleanor Tew