The Gazette - November 2020

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.


Leafing through the pages of a freebie magazine recently, I happened across an advertisement for a designer handbag featuring black and white squares. Apparently, in the world of stylish accessories, checks are big news for autumn and winter 2020. What pitiful part-timers those fashionistas are! Checks are big news for BCA members all year, every year! Even in this weird Covid-19 age, when we’ve held no over the board tournaments, you’ve shown your mettle by giving check in correspondence games and by checking on your BCA friends to find out how they’re doing! You’ve also been checking out the opening traps and master games sent by Gerry Walsh to our email user group every single day since March! One might have thought he’d be flagging by now, but that’s absolutely not the case. He has even provided a master game especially for this gazette!

While there’s every reason to celebrate how members’ determination has overcome the obstacles presented by Covid-19, the committee is keenly aware that many of you would much prefer to meet in person over the course of our customary programme of events. Please do read the note from our Chairman, Norman Wragg, which explains the approach that’s been taken and invites you to give your opinions.

The Telephone Email Skype Summer Ladder tournament that was arranged to replace our usual over the board event concluded after four months of fearless chess and frantic rung switches! This issue contains a continuation of the tournament report in the August gazette. During the event, competitors found innovative new ways to play chess and produced some terrific games! It all went smoothly and our winners were announced with far less controversy than that which surrounded the FIDE Online Olympiad in which the Indian and Russian teams were both awarded Gold following a fiasco with internet connections failing part way through a match!

Staying with mainstream chess for a moment, this summer the English Chess Federation has introduced sweeping changes that affect the grading system. These are summarised in this issue and you can find out your new rating if you have one. Furthermore, associate member, Ben Graff, has employed his journalistic skill to produce an article about Braille chess for “Chess Magazine”! Read Mark Kirkham’s article to find out how to get your copy. Ben is not alone in having exercised his flair for writing. This gazette has not one, but two contributions in verse!

In this issue we are reminded that the clock is ticking for getting in your entries for the Annual Best Game competition. If some of your games aren’t up to scratch take a look at the article by our Coaching Officer to find out whether you can get help in improving your play! Meanwhile, our Membership Secretary introduces us to no fewer than six new members! Some of them are already playing in the 13th BCA Email Tournament, which has a record number of entries this time. No doubt all the participants have some fantastic games in store for them!

Speaking of stores, are you avoiding them nowadays and doing your shopping online? If so, please follow our Treasurer’s advice on using the power of the internet to raise funds for the BCA. Each individual donation made by the retailers might only be pennies, but they will add up if more members join the schemes!

As for the checked designer handbag, in case you’re wondering, I can assure you I won’t be adding it to my wish list. Leaving aside the fact that the price tag is more than some BCA members will have paid for their first house, I didn’t find the bag appealing at all. The best place for black and white squares is definitely on a chess board. Besides, I’m already the proud owner of one the classiest bags in the known universe – a BCA logo one!

You may have noticed that this issue is a little slimmer than recent ones. If you’d like to have a plumper gazette in February, please send me your contributions by the end of December. Your games, BCA reminiscences or creative chess themed pieces are all welcome. I look forward to hearing from you!

Season’s greetings to all readers and very best wishes for your good health in the year to come. Let’s hope 2021 will be the year in which the world gets Covid-19 in check!

Julie Leonard