The Gazette - May 2020

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.


As I handed out copies of the February gazette at the Annual Chess Theme Break in Windermere, some people remarked that I must have written that editorial before the coronavirus news had broken in the west because I’d mentioned a plague in connection with the Chinese Year of the Rat. How right they were and how unfortunate that editorial now appears in retrospect. Three months on and I suspect every single reader, no matter where they live, has had their life changed to some degree or other by the virus and the accompanying restrictions. As I write in mid-April the UK, like countless other countries around the world, is in lockdown and many people are dealing with desperately difficult times, isolated from loved ones.

Yet in parallel, people are finding innovative ways to stay connected, support the vulnerable and raise morale. To misquote Dickens: It is the worst of times, it is the best of times. Many are employing 21st century technology to check on family and friends as well as run businesses remotely. By the time you read this, the BCA committee will have held its first meeting of the year via Skype. In contrast, the town of Belper, Derbyshire, is using a low-tech solution for keeping in touch. Or should that be “lowing” tech? Each evening residents engage in The Belper Moo by making cattle calls to each other across the deserted streets. Similarly, in the United States of America people are taking a moment to join in The Howling, by yelping and yowling into the night like wolves. Sadly, BCA members live too far apart to hear each other calling out. If we were closer, I wonder what our cry would be? Perhaps “J’adoube” to acknowledge all the adjustments we’re making in our lives at this time?

As a “J’adoubing” is a non-starter for our widespread membership, the BCA has been working on another way of bringing members together while keeping at a safe distance. We’re arranging a tournament that people can take part in from their homes and we sincerely hope that as many members as possible will enter as a show of unity and mutual support. The format is as flexible and inclusive as we can make it. You can play by Telephone, Email or Skype. Please see the TESSLa Tournament article in this gazette and waste no time in putting your name down!

Happily, the Annual Chess Theme Break, run for the last time by Peter and Celia Gibbs, took place in Windermere ahead of the lockdown and was once again a huge success. These pages contain a full report as well as Joan Shorrock’s traditional poem about the goings-on during the week! You can also read about the plans we’re putting in place for the 28th Chess Theme Break next year.

In this issue there is a message from our Chairman about the changes we’ve had to make to our 2020 calendar and a report from our Treasurer about the continuing generosity of our sponsors. Our Membership Secretary informs us of more people joining, there is news that one longstanding member is fast approaching a significant birthday and another member has been honoured with a very special award indeed! We also have a uniquely personal article from one of our associate members, who writes about his many family connections with the BCA.

Our Publicity Officer has worked hard on setting up a new BCA email user group. If you haven’t yet joined, I’d advise you to sign up quickly. If you’re lucky you might still catch some examples of opening traps that Gerry Walsh is kindly sharing with us each day! He has thoughtfully sent me a couple of new ones for this issue as well so that members who don’t use email won’t miss out. Our Correspondence Chess Director updates us on various competitions and there are games and news from the 12th BCA Email Tournament too. Owen Phillips sent me his favourite games of 2019 just too late for the February issue but they are in this time. Lastly, this quarter’s puzzle is chosen by a new contributor. I won’t say here who it is, but you can rest assured that he’s “blooming brilliant”!

Please send me your contributions for the August issue by the end of June.

Julie Leonard