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.

Forthcoming Events

Sunday 19th June to Sunday 26th June 2022: Combined British Championship and Chairman’s Cup

In memory of Sheila and David Milsom

This will take place at the Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth, which proved to be a very popular venue for our 2018 Chairman’s Cup. It is very friendly and comfortable, and we also have use of an outdoor heated pool. The parking and green areas are also very good.

The tournament is open to all visually impaired chess players and to associate members of the BCA. The title of BCA British Champion will be awarded to the highest placed visually impaired player who has been resident in the UK for at least the last three years and has not played chess for a country other than the UK. The Chairman’s Cup will be awarded to the highest placed member or associate member whose most recent published grade is 1650 or below (equivalent to about 126 under the old ECF grading system).

The event will be played over 7 rounds with one round each day. Likely starting times for the seven rounds are 19.30 on the first evening and a morning start of 10.30 for the remaining six rounds but these times might have to be changed a little depending on discussions with the hotel. The rate of play will be all moves in two hours for each player. Players may request a half point bye in any one of the first six rounds. If there are sufficient numbers there will be two sections. Entry fee: £10. Cost of dinner, bed and breakfast to members and associate members of the BCA: £300 for the week irrespective of room type. The cost to those booking for less than the full week will be £45 per day for members and associate members. For anyone wishing to stay additional nights at the beginning or end of the tournament, the cost per night will be £65 per person regardless of room type.

In addition to the chess tournament there will be a varied programme of social activities. Anyone with ideas for social events, or who wants further information is invited to contact the organisers: John and Pam Jenkins.

The closing date for bookings was 25 April 2022. There might still be time to enter if you do so quickly but bookings accepted after the closing date are at the discretion of the organiser and will be subject to a late booking fee of £10 per person. Bookings, including full payment, should be sent to: Mrs Gill Smith (see list of BCA Officers for contact details). Please note: Rooms will not be reserved until full payment has been received.

9th July to 17th September: BCA Summer Cup to be played remotely.

The committee has agreed that we will continue to arrange remote events for as long as there is sufficient interest in them from members. The Summer Cup will be a five round tournament in which games are played by telephone, Skype, Zoom, or other internet based platform. Telephone will be the default method of play.

It will be a five round event, running for 10 weeks with one round every two weeks at a mutually convenient time agreed between both players. One point will be awarded for a win and half a point for a draw. Ideally, there should be a third party timekeeper for each game unless it is played by Lichess or similar platform. If they wish, players will be able to take a half point bye in any one of the first four rounds and will be able to arrange this at fairly short notice.

The tournament will be open to all members and associate members of the BCA. Depending on the entries, we may be able to incorporate a Challengers’ section. Whether or not this is possible, the tournament will be a friendly and fairly informal event and we would urge as many members and associate members to “have a go” regardless of their playing strength. Games will not be graded unless a sufficient number of the participants are in favour of sending them for grading. Note that we are not referring to the ECF OTB grading system but to a completely separate ECF system for grading games played online.

Please let Mark Hague have your entry by Monday 27th June, giving full contact details and which playing platforms you are able to use. If you have a preference, please also say whether or not you’d like the games to be sent for grading. By entering this tournament, you are deemed to have consented to sharing your relevant contact details with all participants and the arbiters. The arbiters will be Gerry Walsh and Julie Leonard.

28th to 30th October 2022:  International Autumn Tournament

This year’s International Autumn Tournament will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Solihull. The hotel is located a short taxi ride from Solihull Railway Station and is also convenient for Birmingham International Airport. It has extensive grounds, a fitness centre, a sauna and a heated indoor pool and is adjacent to Solihull’s indoor shopping centre.

It will be our 90th anniversary event and we are hoping that as many members as possible will be able to join us, including some of our friends from overseas. On the Saturday evening we will be aiming to hold one of our

soirées in which members entertain us with their musical and other talents.

The chess part of the weekend will consist of two five round Swiss tournaments – an Open and a Challengers for those whose grade or estimated grade is 1450 or below. Both are open to blind and partially sighted players and to associate members of the BCA. The entry fee for both tournaments is £10.

The rate of play is likely to be 90 minutes for each player for all moves. Any player can request a half point bye in any one of the first four rounds or a delay in the start of their game in round 1 of 30 minutes. Likely start times for the five games are 20.00 on the Friday evening, 09.45 and 14.15 on the Saturday and 09.45 and 14.00 on the Sunday.

Prices at the hotel have increased but we are of course doing our best to minimise the effect of this to members. The cost for dinner, bed and breakfast for the Friday and Saturday nights is £50 per person per night for BCA members and associate members irrespective of room type. The cost for members and associate members staying the Sunday night will be £80 per person per night irrespective of room type.

Payment for all accommodation (including Sunday if required), together with the £10 entry fee should be sent to the Treasurer, Gill Smith. The closing date for entries is 2nd September.

Any queries about the tournament should be sent to Norman Wragg. Please see the list of BCA Officers for contact details.

Booking Conditions and Procedures.

By entering a BCA tournament, a player is deemed to have consented for their name and any special requirements to be passed to the hotel prior to the event. Also, consent is considered to have been given for a player’s name, club, results and possibly also their gender to be sent to the ECF for grading purposes. For juniors, their date of birth is also required if they are to get the age-related grading bonus they are entitled to.

If you have any queries about the hotel or the tournament please contact the organiser.

Blind and partially sighted UK residents under the age of 25 receive free entry and free accommodation when playing in BCA events. In appropriate circumstances, free accommodation is also available to a parent or guardian accompanying a junior.

Visually impaired UK residents in their first year of membership receive their first BCA weekend event free or £100 reduction in the cost of a week-long event. They may also be accompanied by a guide or companion who will receive the same concession. For a first event we ask for payment in advance and we then make a refund at the event.

You may pay in these ways:

Cheques payable to Braille Chess Association should be sent to Gill Smith, see the front of the Gazette for her address.

Online or telephone payments may be made to:

Account name: Braille Chess Association, sort code: 40 52 40, account number: 00082456.

If you pay by direct payment then you should inform Gill when the payment has been made.

Bookings accepted after the closing date are subject to a £10 late booking penalty for each person. Late bookings and entries are accepted at the discretion of the organiser.

Bookings are confirmed when full payment has been received. Payments can only be refunded within the time limit set in the terms and conditions set by the hotels. Members are advised to take out holiday insurance to cover themselves.

When making your booking please let the organiser know if you want a single, double or twin room and if you have a preference for a bath or a shower. And remember, if emailing the tournament organiser, copy in Gill so she can look out for your payment and let you know when it has been received. Gill will always confirm receipt of any payment.

Also say if any of the following apply.

1 If you will be bringing a guide dog;

2 If you are on a special diet;

3 If you have mobility problems and would benefit from being located in a room near to a lift;

4 If you are a wheelchair user;

5 If you feel you would have any special difficulties in an emergency such as a fire evacuation;

6 Any other special requirements.

The BCA reserves the right to refuse or cancel any entry or to exclude any person from any event it runs.