Held at the Elmbank Hotel,
The Six Nations Tournaments have been in existence since the 1960s to promote
chess competition and friendship between visually handicapped players of
different countries. They are held every two years with each nation taking turn
to be the host.
This year it was Great
Britain's turn, and the B.C.A. organised the event. We chose the Elmbank Hotel
in York, which proved to be an excellent venue in terms of playing conditions,
food and assistance from staff of the hotel.
The tournament was controlled
by Gerry Walsh and Julie Leonard, with assistance from Phil Smith and from
several members of the York chess club, who acted as guides and scribes
throughout the event, particularly Peter Cloudsdale who gave us a great deal of
support. The tournament was organised as a five-round contest with teams of four
players from each nation playing each other once. Participating countries were:
Great Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland. The
GB squad consisted of: Chris Ross, Colin Chambers, Bill Armstrong, John
Gallagher and David Hodgkins. The GB team faced very strong opposition
particularly from Germany and Belgium.
round by round:
Switzerland 0.5, Netherlands 2.5, Ireland 1.5, GB 1, Germany 3.
Round 2. Switzerland
0, Germany 4, Ireland 2, GB 2, Belgium 3.5, Netherlands 0.5.
Round 3. Netherlands
1.5, Switzerland 2.5, GB 0.5, Belgium 3.5, Germany 3.5, Ireland 0.5.
Round 4. Switzerland
2, Ireland 2, Belgium 1.5, Germany 2.5, Netherlands 1.5, GB 2.5.
Round 5. GB 3, Switzerland 1,
Germany 4, Netherlands 0, Ireland 1, Belgium 3.
These results led to the final
1st Germany 17 points; 2nd
Belgium 15; 3rd GB 9; 4th Ireland 7; 5th/6th Switzerland and Netherlands 6.
Scores of the GB squad:
Chris Ross was only able to
play the first 3 rounds because of prior commitments, and was replaced by Bill
Armstrong on board 1.
Board 1 Chris Ross 1 - 3, Bill
Armstrong 1.5 - 2.
Board 2 Colin Chambers 3.5 - 5.
Board 3 David Hodgkins 1.5 - 5.
Board 4 John Gallagher 1.5 - 5.
The leading individual scores
through the entire tournament were two familiar players to the BCA: Jergen
Pohlers, Germany 5 - 5 and Peter Devos Belgium 4.5 - 5.
The entire tournament was
played in a spirit of great friendship and sportsmanship between the teams: old
friendships were renewed and new ones were made. Players and guides enjoyed a
trip to York Minster and a canal cruise.
The BCA must express
appreciation to the Primary Club, the Cricketers' Charity for the Blind and
Partially-Sighted, and British Blind Sport for their support and sponsorship for
the Six Nations.
The opening ceremony was
attended by the Mayor of York and her husband; and the prize giving, on the
final evening of the tournament, was a great celebration with laughter and music
and singing from many of the participants.
The Six Nations received
considerable attention from the local media, with items on local radio and
We are now all looking forward
to the next Six Nations Tournament in 2003!