The Gazette - February 2021

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.

Words from the Whitehouse

As we have been using Skype to hold our committee meetings, we’ve felt compelled to shorten the agenda for each meeting while still making sure we cover any issue that must be dealt with. The AGM featured significantly in our November meeting; I’ve written a separate article to deal with AGM-related matters.

We felt the arrangements for the autumn tournament had worked well and that we would use similar arrangements for the congress to be held in March. We will revert to the usual points system of one for a win, half for a draw and zero for a loss.

We also plan to run another TESSLa tournament in the summer. We felt the best time to start the event would be just after the combined Chairman’s Cup and British Championships (that would be mid-June); we also felt we needed to make the event slightly shorter than the one we ran last summer, so the tournament will finish mid-September.

There are a couple of points relating to financial matters worth sharing. First, WorldPay have greatly increased their fees so we decided we would no longer use their services. Secondly, we’ve asked Linda, our new fundraiser to reduce her hours to eight hours a month until the fundraising climate improves.

There have been a couple of developments on the chess equipment front. A company called DGT have produced a new talking digital clock; Ednun Pourtahmasbi is assessing a model we purchased. We’ve obtained some more good quality sets from Chess Baron and it appears that the manufacturer of chess sets in Italy we’ve had dealings with has managed to obtain suitable pieces so we might order some new peg-based sets from him. We felt we could offer members a £10 subsidy on these peg-based sets but that the magnetic sets were more of a luxury item so members would have to purchase those without a subsidy (Ednun will be collecting orders for a new batch early this year).

We’ve reviewed our policies and left them unchanged except for a slight alteration to the wording in our equality and diversity policy which now states that we do not discriminate on the basis of gender identity or marital status. All our policies are on the About Us section of the website. Also, the strapline we use on all our published material will now read “Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People”.

We did give some consideration to our online activities. In his role of Publicity Relation Officer Dan will reach out to some online groups of visually impaired people he knows of and we also plan to start publishing results of our congresses on a dedicated webpage in real time. We’ve continued updating our Facebook page with photos of trophies sent out to winners of correspondence events and the number of people liking our Facebook page continues to increase slowly but surely.

Finally, we decided that if we could get help from enough knowledgeable and suitably skilled people, we would try to organise some sort of campaign to improve the accessibility of chess-playing programmes and chess platforms. The best approach would be to try to contact developers with requests for appropriate improvements, but it was acknowledged we would have to be very specific on how we felt these changes should be implemented, and most committee members did not have that level of technical knowledge. We would appreciate hearing from any member who would be interested in getting involved with accessibility-promoting work.

Guy Whitehouse