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BCA AGM Tournament, Bedford 2nd - 4th March 2012
With grateful thanks to our sponsors:
Wixamtree Trust and the Bedford Rotary Club.
This yearís AGM and congress took place at the Park Inn hotel Bedford, a
pleasant alternative to the Hallmark in Derby, in spite of the unexpected
wake-up call from the fire alarm in the early hours of Sunday morning. The
hotel staff were extremely friendly and helpful.
The food was excellent and the playing conditions in the tournament were
very comfortable as the chess room was really spacious.
Although there were no new players, the BCA was delighted to welcome a new
arbiter, Geoff Jones, who is a highly experienced
ECF Arbiter. He had not controlled at a Braille event before, but said
afterwards that he enjoyed it.
Honorary life memberships were awarded to five people in recognition
of their ongoing and invaluable support, which is
much appreciated and continues to be a shining example to us all. The
Stan Lovell, Julie Leonard, Peter and Celia Gibbs, and Sheila Milsom. As ever, Sheila held another successful raffle
which proved extremely popular raising more valuable funds for the BCA.
I wonít dwell too much on my own performance at the chess board, but I
couldnít write an article on this event without a passing reference to it.
I didnít manage to win any of my games, however, in my first round, I achieved one of my most spectacular losses so
far in a BCA tournament, losing in six moves to Gary Wickett! Not content
to let our chessboards have such an early night, we decided to play a
friendly and two games of suicide chess, at which I was much more
Before I give you the final scores, Iíd like to take this opportunity to
thank Mark Hague and Lea Ryan (the tournament organisers) for their hard
work in ensuring that this was another enjoyable and successful event, both
on and off the chess board.
Chris Ross 4 =1st (Chris won the trophy on tie-break)
Tristram Cole 4 =1st
Steve Burnell 3.5 3rd
Eamonn Casey 3 GPA
Les Whittle 2.5
David Hodgkins 2.5
Ian Blencowe 2 =GPB
Mark Kirkham 2 =GPB
Richard Murphy 2
Sean Loftus 2
Phil Gordon 1.5
Stephen Brown 1
George Phillips 5 1st
Phil Smith 3.5 =2nd
Gary Wickett 3.5 =2nd
Mark Hague 3
Jim Cuthbert 3
Geoff Patching 2 =GPA
John Osborne 2 =GPA
Richard Harrington 2 GPB
Abi Baker 1.5
Rebecca Blaevoet 0 (Rebecca only played in R1
Report of the 2012 AGM
The Bedford Park Inn was the setting for our recent AGM which was held on
Saturday 3 March 2012 and attended by a total of 36 members. The following
paragraphs outline some of the more important points from the meeting.
Gill Smithís report indicated that total BCA funds at
the end of our financial year on 30 September 2011 amounted to £110,875
compared with £112,409 at the corresponding stage the previous year.
Following discussion at the 2011 AGM, we had invested £5000 in a common
investment fund with CCLA, a body that offers specialist investment
management for charities and is owned entirely by its charity, faith and
local authority clients. The value would go up and down but it was a long
Julia Scott indicated in her report that she had now
been fundraising for the BCA for 13 years. In the last financial year she
had raised a total of £26,700 and had raised a further £13,225 so far in
the new financial year. Members were in agreement that this was another impressive
performance and asked the secretary to convey their thanks to Julia for all
her excellent work.
Mark Kirkham reminded the meeting that the RNIB had
produced two chess books in Braille last year and that another two would be
available very soon. Mark urged Braille users to place their orders as soon
as possible since the level of take up of these books would affect RNIBís
future strategy. Mark also reported that a new reader had been found to
read the chess magazine on to tape and that the service was likely to
restart in April. Members wishing to receive the magazine should get in
touch with Richard Harrington but the meeting was reminded that all the
recordings from the regular tape services were also put on the website.
Guy Whitehouse drew attention to the switching of the
production of the Braille version of the Gazette from the RNIB to Rebecca Blaevoetís company and observed that feedback had been
positive. One of the key reasons for making the change was that it had
proved impossible to work out the RNIBís charging policy: costs seemed to
fluctuate for each issue with no obvious rationale or method of matching
cost to size of issue. Guy added that the new arrangement had saved us
money on each issue and had given him greater flexibility in his editorial
Chris Ross explained that work was in progress to
establish an area of the BCA website that would enable members to pay, via
PayPal, for tournaments, equipment etc. Some technical problems were
currently holding things up but he was hopeful that the service would be up
and running within the next 12 months.
David Hodgkins said that the 2013 BCA British
Championship would go ahead in the usual format but he wanted to seek views
on the timing of the event. The Championship was normally held in August
but there would be certain restraints in 2013, with the ECF British
Championship running from Saturday 27 July to Saturday 10 August and the
potential transport difficulties associated with the Bank Holiday week
starting on Saturday 24 August. David put forward three options for members
to consider: an event in later August with weekday travel; the May Bank
Holiday week (Saturday 25 May to Saturday 1 June); and a Wednesday to
Wednesday event around the Easter weekend (27 March to 3 April). The view
from the meeting was that the May Bank Holiday was the best option, with an
August event in second place.
Gary Wickett said that the grass roots scheme was now in
its fourth year and had successfully served to benefit many of our members
in helping to finance their attendance at both mainstream and other non-BCA
chess events. He added that 27 members were eligible for a grant in the
current financial year and that 16 of these had already claimed, 10 for
Windermere and 6 for mainstream events. Four of the members had taken
advantage of the £75 grant for a second or third event. In response to a
question from Geoff Patching, Gary expressed the view that the scheme had
indeed increased the participation of BCA members in mainstream events over
the last 3 or 4 years.
Stan Lovellís written report explained that, from October 2010 to July 2011, we had funded
coaching to a group of VI students at Dorton
College, Kent, thanks to a generous grant from The Primary Club. The
sessions were conducted by Guy Baker, an ECF approved coach.
The students involved had now left the college, some going on to
university, but unfortunately none had so far kept in touch with us or
continued to receive coaching from Guy Baker and it had not been possible
to continue the project with a fresh set of students as those now at the
college had shown no interest. Stanís offers to other schools and colleges
to provide similar coaching had not resulted in any more such schemes being
The meeting was informed that all matters concerning the
new ECF membership scheme would be subject to final decisions at the April
ECF meeting. However, the ECF Chief Executive intended that grading of BCA
events would continue to benefit from earlier concessions and would be free
of ECF charges. However, BCA members would still be expected to become ECF
Bronze members if they played in local leagues, Silver members if they also
played in congresses and Gold members if they entered FIDE rated events.
There were two motions at the AGM, both proposed by the
BCA Committee. Alec Crombie explained that Clause 3 of our constitution
made it clear that the Committee was empowered to refuse an application for
membership from a visually impaired person. However, what had become
apparent was that we were not absolutely sure whether the Committee had the
same power in respect of applications for associate membership or junior
membership. The purpose of the first motion was to clarify this, giving the
Committee the power to refuse any application for membership where
necessary. The motion was carried unanimously.
The thinking behind the second motion was that the
Committee did not have the power if necessary to terminate or suspend the
membership of any member. The Committee felt that this was a significant
oversight that needed to be corrected and had put forward a motion that
would provide the necessary power. Alec observed that we would be coming
into line with the arrangements in most other charitable organisations.
Rebecca Blaevoet suggested a small change to the
wording of the motion and, with this amendment, the motion was carried
Alec Crombie had indicated prior to the meeting that he
would be standing down from the post of Chairman. He explained that he now
had a great deal on his plate and had recently not been able to attend many
events. In two spells as Chairman he had served a total of 18 years and
there was general agreement that he had done a tremendous job. He and his
wife Caroline were presented with a small gift as a demonstration of the
Associationís sincere thanks.
In a series of consequent changes, Norman Wragg was
elected as the new Chairman, Guy Whitehouse as the new Secretary and
Rebecca Blaevoet as the new Gazette Editor, all
unopposed. David Hodgkins (Membership Secretary) and Gary Wickett
(Correspondence Chess Director) were content to continue serving on the
Committee but felt that they would like to exchange roles and the meeting
accepted this. The following officers were re-elected unopposed to their
existing posts: Gill Smith (Treasurer), Stan Lovell (Publicity Officer),
Mark Kirkham (Audio Librarian) and Chris Ross (Website Coordinator).