THE BRAILLE Chess Association (BCA) held its British championship at the Swallow Hotel, Grantham, from 4 to 11 September. The BCA, which organises chess tournaments for visually handicapped players of all ages and abilities, has 200-plus members, mainly in the UK but also further afield. It organises coaching for young people, sponsored by the John Spedan Lewis Foundation, and has an extensive library.

The visually handicapped play under conditions every bit as stringent as other tournament players, but with modified pieces and clock. The Championship was determined by the Premier, an eight-player, all-play-all tournament that was the culmination of a two-year qualifying cycle. There were also a Challengers tournament and a Minor tournament (for BCF 80 or below). The tournaments were controlled by the Fide arbiters Gerry Walsh (shortly to become BCF's new chairman) and Julie Leonard. Chris Farmer, chief executive of South Kestevan District Council, was an enthusiastic and supportive guest; the local MP, Quentin Davies, also visited.

With the reigning champion, Chris Ross, unable to participate, the former champion Graham Lilley was pre-tournament favourite in the Premier. Rated 2,235, Graham has qualified for the British Championship several times; this year in Scarborough he scored a highly respectable 4.5/11.

He started dreadfully in Grantham with just 0.5/2 but fought back splendidly, to run out the winner on 4.5/7. Other scores were (in tie-break order): Steve Burnell, Matthew Hewitt 4, and Colin Chambers 4; Stan Lovell and Jack Horrocks 3.5; David Hodgkins 2.5; and John Gallagher 2. Meanwhile, Bill Armstrong, 6.5/7, Phil Gordon, 5.5, and Hans Cohn, 4.5, took the first three places in the Challengers to qualify for the Candidates tournament next year.

In a Budapest Gambit, Black rather pushed his luck with 9 ...Ng6 when 10 Bxc7!? is far from clearly bad - and continued with the grossly optimistic 10...Nh4 and 11 ...Nf5 - 10 ...0-0 or 10 ...Bd6!? was more like it. After 12 Bxc7 Black felt obliged to win a pawn with 12 ...Nxe3. I tried defending the position after 17 Bf3, then realised that White has sacrificed only one pawn. 23 Rxf6! crashed through.

White: Graham Lilley

Black: David Hodgkins

Budapest Gambit

For details of the BCA contact the secretary, Stan Lovell, 7 Coldwell Square, Crossgates, Leeds LS15 7HB (0113-260 0013)

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 e5

3 dxe5 Ng4

4 Bf4 Nc6

5 Nf3 Bb4+

6 Nbd2 Qe7

7 e3 Ngxe5

8 Nxe5 Nxe5

9 Be2 Ng6

10 Bg3 Nh4

11 0-0 Nf5

12 Bxc7 Nxe3

13 fxe3 Qxe3+

14 Kh1 Qxd2

15 a3 Qxd1

16 Raxd1 Be7

17 Bf3 0-0

18 Rde1 Bc5

19 b4 Bd4

20 Bd6 Rd8

21 Bd5 Bf6

22 Re3 h6

23 Rxf6 gxf6

24 Be7 Re8

25 Rg3+ Kh8

26 Bxf6+ Kh7

27 Rg7+ Kh8

28 Rxf7+ Kg8

29 Rxd7+ Re6

30 Bxe6+ Kf8

31 Rd8 Mate!


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