Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 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.


Winchcombe, a little town just four miles from my home, has had many glimpses of fame in olden times. King Ethelred the Unready used to hunt there in his royal deer park. From 1007 to 1017 it was the centre of its own county, Winchcombeshire. In 1662, a Winchcombe man became the first to document how to add sugar to wine for the production of sparkling wine. That was more than three decades before Dom Perignon!

Since then, Winchcombe has largely enjoyed the quiet life until earlier this year when it was thrust into the limelight once again! A meteorite was spotted just before 10pm on the 28th of February. Its trajectory was expertly reconstructed and people were asked to search for fragments in an area to the north of Cheltenham. One Winchcombe family didn’t have to look far. A large chunk of sooty debris had landed on their driveway!

Reflecting on the space rock’s journey, I was reminded of some of my chess games. The meteorite had hurtled through the vast vacuum of the universe before illuminating the night sky for a few seconds as it entered the earth’s atmosphere, only to fall to the ground and shatter. In much the same way, ideas for winning moves have traversed the gaping void between my ears, blazing brightly for a moment or two as I mistakenly convinced myself of their brilliance, and shortly after that everything would come crashing down!

Fortunately, there are no such catastrophic games tainting the pages of your May gazette. In this issue we have numerous fine examples of play from members and masters alike! You can read the results from no fewer than five BCA events. We also have brainteasers galore, with the usual Gray Matter Test from Graham Lilley, some bonus chess problems from Owen Phillips and for those who prefer word puzzles there is an invitation to concoct a motto for the BCA!

Everyone is encouraged to read the “Note from the Chairman”, which explains the reasons behind our current plans for the coming year. Naturally, due to the pandemic, our next few tournaments will be remote ones but there is an exciting summer of chess lined up for you so don’t forget to check Forthcoming Events.

The Winchcombe meteorite has now been declared a rare, ancient and exciting find. Scientists are analysing its very atoms. They’re going into almost as much detail as Paul Benson has done in his analysis of a master game in part two of “Champing at the Bit”! We also have the second instalment of “Gerry’s Chess Career”, in which Gerry Walsh journeys abroad.

There are the usual officer’s reports and details of a podcast interview with our Junior Development Officer, Voldi Gailans, whose family dominates Personalia this quarter! It’s always good to hear from overseas members and this issue includes pieces by Hugo Roman in Belgium and Donna Jodhan in Canada. You can also read why overseas members are now eligible to take part in the David Hodgkins Memorial Annual Best Game Competition. Finally, we say a sad farewell to George Foster, whom many of us will recall from summer events in recent years.

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

Julie Leonard