Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 2014

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.

Windermere Chess Theme Break

A report on the 2014 Windermere Chess Theme Break by Mark Hague

From the 25th of January to 2nd of February 2014 Peter and Celia’s 21st annual chess study week and tournament took place at Windermere Manor. In total 43 chess enthusiasts and friends attended the week, there being 9 chess coaches and 12 students. People came from far afield to attend the week with 7 people travelling from the Irish Republic and two ladies coming all the way from Canada as there was nothing comparable happening on their continent. Peter welcomed everyone on the Saturday in the bar at 5.45pm to explain the programme for the week which consisted of 2 chess study days, 1 day for group outings, a day and a half for the Handicap Cup tournament and a half day simultaneous tournament.

Peter and Shery, the Events Manager, then went on to describe the many excursions which could be booked through the hotel. These excursions were very popular and the hotel was able to provide sighted guides to assist with the trips. On the Tuesday, the day off from chess, in the morning the group went on a fascinating trip to a motor museum at Newby Bridge which had a special exhibition on Donald Campbell’s record -breaking attempts. In the afternoon we went on a boat trip on Lake Windermere from Bowness.

I had an excellent experience with the chess coaching as I had individual coaching from Stan Lovell. I wanted to improve my tactical skills. I was able to work with him to analyse and solve a number of complex positions that had actually occurred in real games and find the winning tactics. This was pretty demanding work but very rewarding once I had worked out the correct tactics needed. Needless to say many of the positions required one to sacrifice material, particularly the queen, to win.

The chess tournament consisted of 9 participants who each played 2 games in their groups of 3 with the winner from each group then going on to play in a final play-off to determine the final placings. The tournament was won by Gary Wickett, with Lea Ryan a very creditable 2nd and myself in third place.

On the Friday afternoon I took part in a simultaneous tournament run by Peter who took on 10 opponents. Stan acted as my mentor during my game and we thought we were doing really well until Peter produced a move of sheer brilliance which shattered my position and from then onwards it was a slow decline to my eventual resignation. The following position was reached in my game with Peter. I give it in Forsyth notation. The white pieces are in capitals.


r3r1k1 p3qppb 1p2p2p n2pN3 Q2P4 4P3 PP2BPPP 2R2RK1

The game continued:

1 ...f6 2 Nd3 Rec8 3 Nf4 g5 4 Nh5 Bg6

(Now Black felt he could bring his Bishop back to e8 and reduce the white domination over the white squares on the Queen side. He did not see the 'bolt from the blue' on its way!)

5 Qd7!

(Black was stunned, the best reply he could find was:)

...Re8 6 Qxe7 Rxe7 7 Nxf6+ Kg7 8 Ng4 Nc4 9 Bxc4 dxc4 10 Ne5

(Note. if 10 Rxc4 Bd3 forks the Rooks)


I am not sure how moves went from this point. It might have been; 11 Rc3 Rc8 12 Rfc1 Rec7 13 b3

Peter soon won another pawn and the ending is won for White.

Stan commented, “You played well Mark, but firstly Peter's control of the queenside white squares and then his great Qd7 undid you.”

Peter in the end won all 10 of his matches, a magnificent achievement considering his fine age!

There was entertainment most evenings. One evening was devoted to bingo with Mary Cuthbert calling the numbers, a super quiz night was organised by Celia, a session by a jazz singer called Sue Parish that Martyn Wilson had been instrumental in arranging, and a talent night organised by Joan Shorrock. Everybody had such a wonderful time that many people have already booked for next year’s 22nd Chess Theme Break.

I would like to thank Peter and Celia for their sterling work in organising these weeks over the past 21 years as they have brought so much enjoyment to so many people.

Mark Hague.

An announcement about the 2015 Windermere Chess Theme Break by Peter and Celia Gibbs

Hello Chess Friends,

We do not know whether you will be aware but there is now a new manager, Andrew Wilson, at the Windermere Manor Hotel.

The dates of the next Theme Break are Saturday, 31st January to Saturday, 7th February 2015. The new manager has agreed the tariff figures with which we have supplied him: £53 per day i.e. £371 for a week's stay. This figure is only £1 per day more than the 2014 figure.

If booking is made before 1st October 2014 there is a 10% discount of £37.10 giving a reduced total of £333. 90.

For any RNIB member (or any person sharing a room with such a member) there is a further 10% discount of £37.10 leaving a reduced total of £296.80. We have obtained the assurance of the manager that all his staff have been supplied with these figures and no longer will there be varying amounts supplied to different people, as has happened in the past.

Similar to the 2014 Chess Theme Break these figures will be for full board. In 2014 there was no charge for outings because the Hotel had received a grant for them. As far as we know the situation will be same for the 22nd Chess Theme Break in 2015.

In view of these advantageous terms which we have negotiated we look forward to seeing you all at Windermere in 2015!

From Peter & Celia

The Organisers