Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 2015

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.


Hungary has recently enjoyed a high profile in popular culture with the name of her capital city featuring in the title of George Ezra’s hit song “Budapest” and the Oscar winning film “Grand Budapest Hotel”. Of course, in chess circles Hungary has long played a prominent role and has produced eminent players such as Zoltán Ribli, Lajos Portisch and the Polgar sisters; Susan, Judit and Sofia. The importance of the country’s influence on our game is reflected in lines such as the Budapest Gambit and the Hungarian Defence, which owe their names to this region. Likewise in Braille chess, Hungary has made exceptional contributions, for example by hosting the 8th IBCA Olympiad in 1988 and holding a series of smaller international team events in picturesque Szentendre on the Danube in the late 1980s. I had the good fortune to attend one of those tournaments in 1989. This Easter I was delighted to revisit the town. It was charming to witness the Easter Monday custom whereby gentlemen sprinkle ladies with eau de Cologne as a sign of admiration and receive in return a home baked cake, alcoholic drink or a decorated Easter egg. In olden times a bucket of cold well water was used instead of a few drops of scent, which must have been extremely refreshing!

Spring is a time of awakenings and recharged energy as nature revitalises the world around us. By the time you read this winter chess leagues will be drawing to a close and some players might feel jaded at the end of the season, but I hope the spring will inspire and invigorate you so that you feel ready to tackle new chess challenges. Perhaps this freshly published issue of the gazette will help too! (If it doesn’t, you could see if some eau de Cologne or well water does the trick. However, please note that this would be at your own risk. Your editor accepts no responsibility for fragrance related injuries or aquatic accidents!)

This gazette contains news from our AGM and the associated weekend congress in Solihull. Please note that some details in Forthcoming Events have been updated in line with decisions taken at the AGM. Also, our International Autumn Tournament will be held in joint memory of Lucy Walsh and Mary Cuthbert. These two ladies, who both passed away in 2014, were firm friends so it is most fitting that we should remember them together. There is a report on this year’s Windermere Chess Theme Break and an important update on discounts for next year’s event. Our Email Tournament controllers report on the 2nd tournament and give details of how to enter the 3rd one! We have news of activities aimed at raising awareness of our association, with information on how you can help by buying items with the BCA logo or supporting our new Facebook page. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to request a free sample of the RNIB’s Braille Chess Magazine!

Last but not least, this issue contains many fine tributes to David Hodgkins, whose sudden and untimely passing deeply upset all who knew him. The BCA is grateful to David’s colleagues at Apex Credit Management for honouring his memory by raising funds for us this year. They have kindly sent us a report on their innovative charity events for this gazette. Readers can look forward to updates in future issues too!

Please send any submissions for the August gazette to arrive no later than the end of June.

Julie Leonard