Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - November 2019

Sponsored by The Ulverscroft Foundation
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.

The BCA Geoff Patching Memorial British Championship 2019

Dan Rugman writes:

This event was held in memory of Geoff Patching, longstanding member and life and soul of the party.

It turns out that travelling to Torquay from London is not as difficult as I first expected. Especially when I changed to a second train only to find other Londoners who were smart enough to work out that there was a direct service! And welcome to the Livermead House Hotel, Torquay. A small but friendly hotel on the sea front.

After the usual business of settling in it was time for the first meal of the week. And what a meal. The food was of such an excellent standard that I want to go back just for the catering. In fact, choosing courses was almost as difficult as deciding on chess moves!

Then it was on to the chess. Civic Mayor, Mrs Maggi Douglas-Dunbar, attended the opening ceremony and made the first move on the top board. For me, round one was frankly a bust. Maybe it was the fact that I was facing a much stronger opponent but tossing a knight out the window was not a good way to start. After that, I settled down to some pretty good chess and was pleased with my overall performance.

As is always the case with our week long events, entertainment was laid on every night. And we must now take a moment to thank Gary and Tanvi for doing a truly excellent job.

Gill and Paul ran a quiz that apparently caused some trouble at home as the Smiths squabbled over the questions. This was followed on the next night by Gary and Tanvi’s carefully thought out and highly entertaining 70s game show quiz incorporating Punchlines, Name That Tune and Call My Bluff. Then another Wickett, Gary’s brother, Steve, gave us an evening of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis which set the place on fire! The usual soirée was then followed by Julie’s murder mystery (full cast production) in which moustaches fell off, brains were taxed, and Clare Gailans lost the trust of the association as the crimes committed by her character were revealed.

The tournament was a seven round event with two sections. The Championship had fifteen players and the rate of play was 40 moves in 2 hours with 30 minutes to finish. Paul Benson was the undisputed champion with 2nd place shared by Bill Armstrong and Steve Burnell. The Challengers was an 8 board all play all with a rate of play of all moves in 2 hours. Tony Elbourn lost to his wife, Irene in round 1, then went on to win the rest of his games to take first place. Second place was shared by Denis Warren and Gill Smith.

On the final evening we were delighted to have Geoff Patching’s stepson, Mike, join us to share memories of Geoff and applaud the prize-winners. An excellent time had been had by all - even if we struggled with the heat! Sincere thanks to the organisers: Gary Wickett and Tanvi Muir; the arbiters: Gerry Walsh and David Clayton; and our steward, Roger Waters.

Championship Final Standings

BCA British Champion, on 6 points: Paul Benson

Equal second on 5 points: Bill Armstrong and Steve Burnell

On 4 points: Norman Wragg

Also on 4 points, winning Grading prize A: Joe McAloon

Also on 4 points, winning Grading prize C: Dan Rugman

On 3.5 points, sharing Grading prize B: Philip Gordon and Richard Murphy

Also on 3.5 points: Philip Doyle, Colin Chambers and Ernie McElroy

On 3 points: Mark Hague and Eamon Casey

On 2.5 points: Voldi Gailans

On 2 points: George Phillips

Challengers Final Standings

1st on 6 points: Tony Elbourn

Equal second on 5 points: Denis Warren and Gill Smith

On 4.5 points: Tony Lawton

On 3 points, winning the Grading prize: Lea Ryan

On 2.5 points: Jim Cuthbert

On 1 point: Irene Elbourn and Richard Harrington

Post Script from Tournament Organiser, Gary Wickett. Unfortunately, due to coming down with a bad throat and chest infection, Dan was unable to take part in the chess theme murder mystery evening, which was written by our very own Agatha Christie, whose other jobs include editing this Gazette! All the parts of this dark chequered tale were played by the Budding Chess Actors, otherwise known as the BCA! It was a very entertaining evening and proved that chess brains can also solve murder mysteries, as three teams convicted the right character, albeit not entirely for the right reasons! If Julie is the new Agatha Christie, the rest of us are a long way off from being the new Poirot!