Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 2019

Sponsored by Geoff Patching
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.

Les Whittle Memorial AGM Congress Report

John Osborne writes:

We were back in the north of England to return to one of our favourite hotels in Harrogate. The Old Swan Hotel is the place were Agatha Christie stayed when she disappeared from public life. Harrogate is also famous for many things including the composer Edward Elgar who used to enjoy walks in the local park.

It was a very bleak day on our arrival with non-stop rain and a lack of support at the local station. Also on this occasion the hotel heating was great on the first floor but extremely disappointing on the 3rd floor. This did cause concern and was not resolved.

Moira opened the tournament with the first move to allow us to focus for a few minutes on Les Whittle’s life and contribution to chess and the BCA. Norman Wragg gave a tribute speech which highlighted his passion for chess and great achievements over the years.

Many familiar faces took part at this tournament but there were also lots of new faces and characters to add new excitement and enjoyment to the weekend.

It was a busy hotel with a coin festival taking place. Roman coins could be seen across the carpet and a buzz of excitement about this very interesting hobby gave the hotel a busy and atmospheric tempo.

For the first time we had the opportunity to play in two rooms which seemed to work well. There was much debate about mobile phones and what should be done if people forget to turn them off. The committee will continue to discuss this matter. The best game for 2018 was jointly awarded to Gill Smith and Richard Murphy.

It is almost impossible to capture in a small article the emotional impact that flows throughout the tournament. There were people in the bar in deep despair over their game and analysing every move. Others were so happy to get a point on the board. Familiar faces did win both tournaments and the scores can be seen below.

It was another great weekend and so many people were able to stay over on Sunday to reduce the pressure of having long journeys on a Sunday evening. Huge thanks to everyone who helped make this tournament run very smoothly.


1st 4.5 points Chris Ross

2nd 4 points Paul Benson

Joint 3rd 3 points Owen Phillips, Steve Burnell, Ian Blencowe (Grading Prize A), Richard Murphy (Grading Prize B)

2.5 points Stan Lovell (extra Grading Prize A)

2 points Bill Armstrong, Colin Chambers, Mark Kirkham, George Phillips (extra Grading Prize B)

1.5 points Guy Whitehouse, Voldi Gailans


Joint 1st 4 points Dan Rugman, Gary Wickett (Dan won the trophy on tie-break)

3rd 3.5 points Steve Thacker

3 points Mark Hague, Jim Cuthbert (Grading Prize A), John Osborne, Phil Rafferty (John and Phil shared Grading Prize B)

2.5 points Gill Smith

2 points Tony Lawton, Ednun Pourtahmasbi, Graham Geraughty, Javaid Mohammed (Ednun, Graham and Javaid shared Grading Prize C)

1.5 points Richard Harrington

1 point Ahsan Ali

Many thanks to Owen Phillips for sending in all his games from the event (whether won, drawn or lost) for the gazette. The first one is described by Owen as an exciting tussle! Mark Kirkham gave Owen quite a scare but says that he didn't have the confidence to trust his instincts at the crucial moment.

Open - Round 1: Mark Kirkham (121) v Owen Phillips (178) [ECO "A52"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. e4 Nxe5 5. f4

Here, Black often plays Nec6, but Owen wanted to keep the game more original and so chose a rarer and more double-edged line, almost to his cost!

5. … Ng6 6. Nf3 Bc5 7. f5 Nh4 8. Ng5 Bb4+ 9. Nc3 Qf6 10. Qd3

Mark comments: The simple Bd2 seems to leave white a pawn up, but I gave too much negative weight to having doubled c pawns. One possible line is 10...h6 11. Qh5 Bxc3 12. bxc3 O-O 13. Qxh4 hxg5 14. Qxg5 Qe5 15. Bd3 f6 16. Qe3 Na6 17. O-O Nc5 18. Bc2 Re8 19. Qh3 b6. The game continued:

10. … h6 11. Nxf7 Qxf7 12. g3 Qe7 13. gxh4 Qxh4+ 14. Kd1 Nc6 15. Qg3 Qxg3 16. hxg3 Bxc3

17. bxc3 Ne5 18. Be2 b6 19. Bf4 d6 20. g4 Bb7 21. Bxe5 dxe5 22. Bf3 Ke7 23. Ke2. Ba6 24. Kd3 Rad8+

25. Ke3 Bxc4 26. Be2 Bxe2 27. Kxe2 Rd6 28. Rad1 Rhd8 29. Rd5 Rxd5 0-1

Now here’s a Round 2 treat for Caro fans!

Owen writes: “Thanks to Steve [Burnell] for again showing me just how weak I am playing against the Caro Khan when it is handled by an expert! Well played. My instinct tells me that h4 and h5 are too loose!”

Steve responds: “It is a line against the Caro which I rarely encounter! It was an interesting and enjoyable game.”

Open - Round 2: Owen Phillips (178) v Steve Burnell (138)[ECO "B11"]

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. g4 Nd7 7. Bg2 Ne7 8. h4 Ng6 9. h5 Nh4 10. Qg3 Nxg2+ 11. Qxg2 Bc5 12. b3 d4 13. Na4 Bd6 14. Nb2 Qc7 15. Nc4 e5 16. Nxd6+ Qxd6 17. a4 c5 18. d3 h6 19. g5 hxg5 20. Bxg5 f6 21. Bd2 Qe7 22. Rb1 Qf7 23. Qh3 f5 24. Qxf5 Qxf5 25. exf5 Nf6 26. h6 Kf7 27. b4 cxb4 28. Rxb4 b6

29. a5 gxh6 30. axb6 axb6 31. Rxh6 Rxh6 32. Bxh6 Ra1+ 33. Ke2 Nd5 34. Rc4 Kf6 35. Kf3 Kxf5 36. Rc8 Ra2


Owen describes his Round 3 encounter as follows:

“This is a tale of a lot of wriggling on Rossie's Fishing line and hook! It’s not one of my finest but a good clean kill by the Rossie! I got a bit too clever for my own good in the opening! Well played Chris.”

Open - Round 3: Chris Ross (206) v Owen Phillips (178) [ECO "A40"]

1. d4 Na6 2. Nf3 c6 3. c4 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. Bf4 d6 6. Qd2 h6 7. h3 Nc7

8. e4 Ne6 (interesting but probably unplayable with best moves by White)

9. Be3 g5 10. Be2 Nf6 11. Nh2 Nf8 12. Rd1 a6 13. Qc2 Qc7 14. Ng4 h5 15. Nxf6+ exf6 16. f4 Ng6 17. f5 Ne7

18. d5 c5 19. a3 Bd7 20. b4 b6 21. Rb1 Qc8 22. O-O h4 23. bxc5 bxc5 24. Na4 Bxa4 25. Qxa4+ Kf8

26. Rb6 a5 27. Rfb1 Qd8 28. Rb7 Nc8 29. Rd7 Qe8 30. Rbb7 Kg8 31. Qc2 Qe5 32. Rxf7 Bf8 33. Rfd7 Ne7

34. Bc1 Qg3 35. Rb3 Qe1+ 36. Bf1 a4 37. Rb1 Qg3 38. Qd3 Qxd3 39. Bxd3 Nc8 40. Rbb7 Rh6 41. Rd8 1-0

In Round 4 Owen admits that he got another scare, this time from Richard Murphy!

Open - Round 4: Owen Phillips (178) v Richard Murphy (107)[ECO "C00"]

1. Nc3 d5 2. e4 e6 3. f4 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bd7 5. Be2 Bc6 6. Bf3 Nf6 7. Qe2 Be7 8. c3 Nxe4 9. Bxe4 Bxe4

10. Qxe4 Qd5 11. Qxd5 exd5 12. d4 Nd7 13. Nf3 O-O 14. O-O Nf6 15. Re1 Rfe8 16. Be3 Bd6 17. g3 Re7

18. Kg2 Rae8 19. Bg1 Re2+ 20. Kh3 Draw agreed. “Phew” said Owen!

A possible continuation: 20. … Rxb2 21. Rab1 Ba3 22. Rxb2 Bxb2 23. Rb1 Re2 24. Ne5 b6 25. c4 g6 26. Rf1

Round 5 saw “The clash of the Phillips'!” Owen writes:

“I think it is clear that George played well and that the opening was very double edged. Good fighting chess in memory of a grand BCA player-Les Whittle!”

Open - Round 5: George Phillips (100) v Owen Phillips (178) [ECO "B06"]

1. d4 g6 2. e4 d6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. Be3 c6

Black could now play a Gurgenidze Pirc: But

5. Qd2..this move discourages that option and Black instead plays: h6 6. Nf3 b5 7. Bd3 a6 8. O-O Nd7

9. Rfe1 Bb7 10. Ne2 g5 Black sets up a Double Bayonet counter attack! A similar thing to a Hippopotamus opening (the only difference really is that Black has played an early c6 to support his b5 pawn)

11. c3 e6 12. h3 (nice move)

12. ... Ne7 13. Ng3 Ng6 14. Nh5 Bf8 15. Nh2 Nf6 16. Nxf6+ Qxf6 17. Ng4 Qg7 18. e5 O-O-O 19. Nf6

(White was threatening a repetition by Nh5 and Nf6 on the Black Queen! Black has no time to play dxe5!)

19. ... Be7 20. Bxg6 Qxg6 21. Qe2 Bxf6 22. exf6 Qxf6 23. Qh5 Rdg8 24. d5

White tries to open matters up.

24. ... cxd5 25. Bd4 e5 26. Bb6 Qg6 27. Qg4+ f5

Now contemplating resigning, George plays

28. Qxf5+..just in case Black was falling asleep!

28. ... Qxf5 0-1

Editor’s Note: It would be great to have some games from the Challengers section in the gazette as well. We won’t have an over the board event before the copy deadline for the August gazette so I’d be delighted to receive some games for inclusion in that issue!