Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 2022

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.

BCA Spring Chess Congress 2022

Lea Ryan writes:

On Friday the 18th of March 2022, 15 chess players, along with family and friends, travelled to the Mickleover Hotel at Derby. The Mickleover Hotel was a first for the BCA, therefore the hotel was entered with some slight trepidation. Any fears however, soon proved to be groundless. The hotel staff were extremely welcoming.

On being taken to our room Mark and I soon realised we would be residing in the usual high standard of style that we have come to expect when attending a BCA event. Some totally blind members did comment that the hotel was complicated to negotiate. However, there was lots of sighted help if requested.

The food was excellent and the dining staff could not have been more helpful. I also understand that Julie Leonard and Neda Koohnavard took full advantage of the hotel swimming pool, as did Gill and Paul Smith.

The chess room was excellent too. It was spacious and there were even Male and Female toilets ensuite. This made things so much easier for the chess players.

Our arbiters, Mathew Carr and David Clayton, ran the tournament with outstanding efficiency. When running a BCA chess tournament, one must always be ready for the unexpected and to act quickly if necessary. This they did, when in one of the chess matches which John Fullwood played as white, he managed to capture his opponent’s queen. In his excitement at taking the black queen off the board he dropped it on the floor. John's Guide dog Monty was under the table at the time and in a trice had got the chess piece in his mouth. With the quick thinking of the arbiters and chess player, Phil Rafferty, who also came to help, this only caused a small amount of chaos. The clocks were stopped for a short time and Monty was eventually persuaded to give up the queen without any harm occurring.

All good things must come to an end though and all too soon the tournament was over. Below is a list of the tournament prize winners:

In joint first place with 4 points were Stan Lovell and George Phillips. Stan won the Open trophy and George won the Challengers trophy.

In joint second place in the Open on 3.5 points were Richard Murphy and Colin Chambers

On three points were Norman Andrews, Mark Hague and John Osborne. Mark and John were joint second in the Challengers section.

On 2.5 points was Tony Lawton, who won Grading Prize A.

On 2 points were Malcolm Jones, Bittor Ibanez, John Fullwood, Phil Rafferty, Neda Koohnavard and Gill Smith. Phil and Neda shared Grading Prize B.

On 1 point was Lea Ryan.

On the Sunday evening, the BCA members who did not go home, were able to have a delicious meal and then relax in the bar, where we were privileged to meet a few of Stan Lovell’s family members who came to the hotel to visit Stan.

I can honestly say a good weekend was had by all. Well done to the organisers, chess players, hotel staff and family and friends for all your support!

Editor’s note: I asked Stan if he’d like to provide a game for the gazette. He replied, “The following seems appropriate, as it is my Round 2 game against George, who finished level on points with me. It's interesting, as I gained a piece and then, with some strong battling by George I had to concede the draw.”

White: Stan Lovell v Black: George Phillips

1. d4 b6 2. Nc3 Bb7 3. e4 e6 4. Nf3 d6 5. Be2 g6 6. 0-0 Bg7 7. Bg5 Ne7 8. Qd2 h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Ng6

11. Rfd1 0-0 12. h3 Nd7 13. a4 a6 14. Qe3 Qe7 15. Re1 f5 16. exf5 exf5 17. Qxe7 Nxe7 18. Bc4+ Kh8

19. Rxe7 Rad8 20. Be6 Bc8 21. Bxd7 Rxd7 22. Rxd7 Bxd7 23. Rd1 f4 24. Bh2 Re8 25. Kf1 Bf5 26. Ne1 c5

27. Ne2 c4 28. f3 d5 29. Bg1 Bd7 30. Nc3 Be6 31. Rd2 Rb8 32. Re2 Bg8 33. Bf2 b5 34. axb5 axb5

35. Re7 b4 36. Nb1 b3 37. c3 Ra8 38. Rxg7 Kxg7 39. Na3 Rb8 40. g3 Be6 41. Kg2 Kg6 42. g4 1/2-1/2