BCA – Bringing Chess To Visually Impaired People


  • 2023 Remote Summer Cup

    The aim of the Summer Cup is to help BCA members keep their chess skills sharp from the comfort of their own homes over the summer months.  It’s an ideal event for people who cannot attend our OTB tournaments for one reason or another!  In this five round Swiss tournament, two weeks are allowed for each round. Games were played on a date arranged by the players, using a mutually agreed platform such as Skype, telephone, Lichess, Zoom or WhatsApp. Usually, there was also a timekeeper to operate the clock. Half point byes were available but not a single one was requested, which goes to show how keen the participants were to play all five games!

    The initial lineup for the 2023 Remote Summer Cup comprised of twenty-four entrants, including eight lady players and seven participants from overseas. Round 1 kicked off on the 29th of July. Most games went according to seeding but there were a couple of unexpected results with Nene Clayton and Neda Koohnavard both holding their higher rated opponents to draws. Already they were joint leaders in the U1300 section and the Ladies’ section!

    All Round 2 games were decisive and only Steve Burnell, Stan Lovell, Paul Baldwin, Colin Fisher and Mark Hague were on maximum scores. Nene and Neda remained just half a point behind the frontrunners.

    Round 3 saw Steve Burnell and Stan Lovell emerge as joint leaders on three points apiece. Nene and Neda both won their games too, staying neck and neck in the U1300 section and the Ladies’ section.

    The crucial clashes between Stan and Steve on board 1 and Neda and Nene on board 2 took place in Round 4. Stan managed to win and take sole lead, but the ladies drew their game and joined Steve Burnell, Norman Wragg and Colin Fisher on three points.

    In the final round, Stan was drawn against Colin Fisher. Could Stan win and achieve a perfect score, or draw to finish outright first? Meanwhile, Nene and Neda were up against formidable opponents Norman Wragg and Steve Burnell respectively. It was a nail-biting finish! Colin managed to beat Stan and joined him on 4 points. Then Nene also moved up to 4 points by winning her game against Norman. The next day, Neda drew with Steve Burnell, meaning that for the first time in this event she slipped just behind Nene.

    Congratulations to Stan, Colin and Nene for finishing joint first! The Open trophy goes to Stan on tie-break. The U1300 and Ladies Trophies go to Nene. Colin didn’t feel bad about not getting a trophy – he said he was just delighted to be among the joint winners! The full list of final scores is as follows:

    On 4 points Stan Lovell, Colin Fisher and Nene Clayton.

    On 3.5 points Steve Burnell, Paul Baldwin, Neda Koohnavard and Olle Engstrom (Sweden).

    On 3 points Norman Wragg, Voldi Gailans, Eamonn Casey (Ireland) and Anthony Borg (Malta).

    On 2.5 points Mark Hague.

    On 2 points Mahendra Galani (Austria), Tony Lawton, Teresa Codina (Spain), Bittor Ibanez, Malcolm Jones, John Ramm and Abi Baker.

    On 1.5 points Lukwesa Matapo Kalumba (Zambia) and Gill Smith.

    On 1 point Eleanor Tew and Lea Ryan (withdrawn).

    On 0.5 point Marilyn Bland (USA).

    Stan Lovell playing at the 2023 Chairman's Cup in Bournemouth
    Stan Lovell – winner of the 2023 Remote Summer Cup! (Pictured here playing in the 2023 Chairman’s Cup in Bournemouth.)

    We are grateful to Bittor Ibanez for collating all the 2023 Summer Cup games. You can view them by selecting the file below or download them by using the download option below.

  • Chairman’s Cup 2023

    Braille Chess Association – Chairman’s Cup

    The BCA held a tournament in the Marsham Court Hotel from Saturday 15th July to Friday 22nd July.  23 players took part, most of them visually impaired.  During the week, 7 rounds of chess were played and in the evenings the group enjoyed entertainment such as a quiz, some music and a murder mystery.

    The tournament and entertainments were organised by John Jenkins of Highcliffe and he took part in the chess along with local Steve Bailey of Poole.

    18 other players travelled to Bournemouth from around the UK and they were joined by players from Vienna, Barcelona and Sweden.

    The tournament was officially opened by the Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor Anne Filer, and Martin Simons gave a challenge in a 16 board simultaneous, finishing on 12.5 points.

    The Chairman’s Cup was won by Ian Blencowe (Gloucester) with a score of 5.5 from 7. Stan Lovell (Scarborough) was second with 5 points and so remains our Visually Impaired Champion.  Neda Koohnavard (London) was the top placed player with a rating under 1300 and she also won the ladies cup, she scored 4.5.

    The rail strikes meant that half of our party left a day early on Friday 21st and so a “soirée” of musical talents was held on Thursday afternoon with a much smaller soirée held on Friday night.

    We hope to return to Bournemouth again in the future.


    The Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor Anne Filer, opened the tournament.
    Stan Lovell finished 2nd overall and was the highest placed visually impaired player. Accompanied by guide dog, Casper, he received his prize from Gill Smith.
  • AGM Weekend and Chess Congress 2023

    Matthew Carr (L) and Norman Wragg (centre) present Owen Phillips with Open Trophy

    Members gathered at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate for our AGM Weekend Congress from the 14th to the 16th of April, 2023.  We held our AGM on the Saturday evening.  It was our first hybrid meeting, with members attending online as well as in person.  The Annual Best Game Trophy for 2022 was presented to Steve Burnell.  Richard Harrington received a thank you gift for many years of service as Periodicals Distributor.  Norman Wragg stood down from the committee after serving for eight years as Secretary, followed by eleven years as Chairman.  The meeting voted that he should receive Honorary Life Membership.  Former Champion, Bill Armstrong was elected as our new Chairman.

    There was also a five round Swiss tournament held over the weekend.  Thirteen players competed in the Open section and ten in the Challengers.

    The Open was particularly closely contested.  After five rounds only 2 points separated the leader from the lowest scorers!  New member Gary Hogan impressed everyone by finishing joint second with former champion Steve Burnell.  The first prize was won by associate member Owen Phillips.  The complete scores were as follows:

    1st on 4 points Owen Phillips

    =2nd on 3.5 points Steve Burnell and Gary Hogan

    On 2.5 points Norman Andrews, Ian Blencowe, Colin Chambers, Mark Kirkham, George Phillips and Guy Whitehouse.  Norman, Ian and Colin shared Grading Prize A, while Mark, George and Guy shared Grading Prize B.

    On 2 points Bill Armstrong, Stan Lovell, Richard Murphy and Gary Wickett

    In the Challengers section, Bittor Ibanez was a man with a mission!  Having narrowly missed out on winning a trophy at our Autumn Tournament, he was determined to do better this time and he succeeded in winning all of his games!  New associate member, Mark Cholij, also put in a good performance and won a grading prize in his first competitive event.  The complete scores were as follows:

    1st with a perfect score of 5 points Bittor Ibanez

    2nd on 3.5 points Gill Smith

    =3rd on 3 points John Osborne and Phil Rafferty

    On 2.5 points John Fullwood, Tony Lawton and Abi Baker.  Tony and Abi shared Grading Prize A.

    On 2 points Mark Cholij, who won Grading Prize B.

    On 1 point Richard Harrington and Eleanor Tew.

    At the prizegiving, everyone expressed their gratitude to Steve and Hazel Burnell for organising such a great weekend.  Thanks were also offered to arbiters Matthew Carr and David Clayton, and steward Tristram Cole for running the tournament so smoothly.

    Norman Wragg L presents Bittor Ibanez with Challengers Trophy


    Gill Smith (L) presents Norman Wragg with Honorary Life Membership


  • 29th Chess Theme Break

    Coaching sessions were held in small groups or as one-to-ones

    Nearly thirty players, guides, family members and friends gathered in Weston-super-Mare from 28th January to 4th February 2023 for a chess themed holiday!  The week started with a few days of coaching, during which six of our more experienced players trained ten other members in small groups.  There were also some “How Good is Your Chess?” sessions and an opportunity to learn about the history of the game.  A few members of the local chess club came in one afternoon to play some mini simultaneous displays against the trainees.  The chess activities culminated in a mini tournament so the trainees could put what they’d learnt into practice.
    It wasn’t all about chess though!  We had a free day and a trip to Weston Museum was arranged for anyone who wanted to go.  In the evenings we had music and dancing, quizzes, a word game and our own talent show in which members sang songs, read poetry or played music to entertain each other.  For the guide dogs, there was the opportunity to free run on the beach.  Something for everyone!
    All in all it was a very enjoyable week!

    Couples Dancing
    Three couples dance as Dave Curran sings