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.

All Under One Roof

Members can claim support for attending any of these congresses from the Congress Support Scheme. You just have to flag up with the Congress Support Officer, Mark Kirkham, that you intend to participate, and assuming you have not exceeded the amount you are entitled to claim in a year and that you send in a small report on the tournament afterwards you could probably offset the vast bulk of costs incurred by playing in an event. If you do choose to claim for attending one of these tournaments, or indeed for playing at any other tournament covered by the scheme, please follow the guidelines and send the Congress Support Officer, Mark Kirkham, travel receipts and the required report.

This list should not be treated as definitive and is only as complete as I can make it whilst complying with gazette deadlines. The following events take place in hotels so the accommodation and tournament itself are at the same venue.

Castle Chess

These are organised by the Castle Chess directors, Tony and Barbara Corfe and Mark Shaw. The website gives the email address Castle Chess are well used to having visually impaired participants in their events. I have also found that other participants in Castle Chess events have got to know and befriended BCA players.

Please note that unless otherwise stated, all Castle Chess congresses are now six-round Swiss events and you are allowed to take a half-point bye in any two of the first five rounds. The grading bands are an U195 Championship which also has an U175 Premier section, the Major for those under 155 with an Intermediate section for U135s, and a Minor section for those with a grade less than 115 with a Challengers section for U95s.

16th – 18th March 2018, 10th Hereford Congress

As usual this will be held at the Green Dragon Hotel on Broad Street, Hereford.

11th – 13th May 2018, 4th Harrogate Congress

Castle Chess have been looking to get tournaments going in the north and for this event they are returning to the Old Swan Hotel, a venue which has become familiar to participants in BCA events.

e2e4 events Website:

I can find no e2e4 events for the period covered by this gazette.

Other Events

16th – 18th February 2018, 47th Dyfed Chess Congress, Fishguard Bay Hotel, Quay Rd, Goodwick

Five round Swiss with a FIDE Rated Open and a Major for U121 ECF. All moves in 1½ hours with 30 second increments added after each move. Website:

23rd – 25th February 2017, 25th Bunratty Chess Festival, Bunratty Castle Hotel, Bunratty, Ireland

Nigel Short described this as the Rolls Royce of weekenders. There are four sections: Masters over ELO 2000, Challengers ELO 1600 to 1999, Major ELO 1200 to 1599 & Minor under ELO 1200. Email for details.

9th – 11th March 2018, 42nd Blackpool Chess Conference, Imperial Hotel, North Promenade, Blackpool.

There are five sections: an Open, a Major (u-181), an Intermediate (u-155), a Minor (u-135) and a Standard (u-115). The rate of play is all moves in 110 minutes with a ten second increment for each move. No telephone number seems to be given on the entry form, so email enquiries to

31st March – 7th April 2018, 4th Polar Capital Jersey International, Hotel Ambassadeur, St.Clement Bay

There is an Open, a Holiday tournament for those under ECF 160 and a Minor for those under ECF 65. The USB Jersey Open Blitz tournament is on the 4th of April in the same venue. All four events are nine round Swisses. Contact: Paul Wojciechowski.

13th – 15th April 2018, 18th 4NCL FIDE rated Congress, Holiday Inn, Doncaster.

This is a five-round Swiss. The sections are a FIDE Open, FIDE U-2000 (ECF U-175), and an ECF U-135. Contact Mike Truran.

Guy Whitehouse.