Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 2016

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.


At Easter I visited the Lanman Museum in Framlingham Castle in Suffolk and among the many artefacts on display was a set of chessmen that had been carved out of boxwood in the trenches during World War One. The set was a little rough and ready, which is hardly surprising given when and where it was made and that it may well have had battles fought around it as well as on it! Despite its crude appearance the pieces were perfectly recognisable and I found myself reflecting on the individual who made it and the people who played with it. How tragic it is to think that many of them may not have come home again but is it not also heart-warming to imagine that the game of chess may have granted them a small diversion from the appalling conditions they were enduring and therefore helped in some way to get them through their terrifying ordeals? That somewhat scruffy chess set was probably valued beyond measure by those for whom it offered an hour or two of distraction.

Many chessplayers reading this will perhaps also have become so absorbed in a game that all else is blocked out for a while. We know only too well that chess possesses a powerful fascination for those who appreciate the challenges it places before us. Of course, our game is not unique in its incredible potential to hold people’s attention. We can equally be captivated by an evocative piece of music or engrossed in a good book. I don’t think for one moment that members regularly lose themselves in their gazettes in quite the same way, but nevertheless, I’d advise you not to put anything in the oven or leave a bath running as you sit down to read this – just in case! It’s another bumper issue with lots of great contributions from our members on a wide assortment of topics and I hope there will be points of interest for all readers.

Your May gazette contains a summary of the AGM proceedings and reports of tournaments played over the board, by post or by email. There is a write up on the ever popular Windermere Chess Theme Break and we are invited to step up onto the BCA Friendly Games Ladder! Our attention is drawn to our hardworking fundraisers and generous supporters, whose donations are helping the BCA to maintain a varied programme of activities and offer a range of subsidies to members. There are also items about friends who are sadly no longer with us and an exciting announcement about the number of new members who have joined recently.

Kindly note that our secretary is in the process of moving house and his new postal address is not yet certain. For the time being, anyone who needs to contact Guy is asked to email him or call him on his mobile number, which is given in the officers’ contact details section at the start of this gazette. In case of any difficulties, please contact another committee member. No doubt we all wish Guy well for the move!

I am delighted to be continuing as editor of the BCA Gazette for another year. Please send your articles for the August issue to me by the end of June.

Julie Leonard