BCA Chess: Upcoming Events

Braille Chess Association - Forthcoming Events

Braille Chess Association

Visually impaired UK residents in their first year of membership receive their first BCA weekend event free or £100 reduction in the cost of a week-long event.

They may also be accompanied by a guide or companion who will receive the same concession. For a first event, we ask for payment in advance and we then make a refund at the event.

Braille Chess Association Forthcoming Events


17th to 19th April 2020: AGM Weekend Chess Congress

This will take place at The Hallmark Hotel, Derby.  The AGM will be held at 2 pm on Saturday 18th April.  We are pleased to be returning to this popular hotel with its excellent facilities.  The hotel is very conveniently located within a few yards walk of Derby railway station.

There will be two five round chess tournaments. The Open section is open to all visually impaired chess players and associate members of the BCA.  The Challengers is limited to those graded 100 or below.  The entry fee for both tournaments is £10.  The cost of dinner, bed and breakfast for members and associate members is £44 per person per night for Friday and Saturday nights in a single room, and £40 per person per night in a double/twin room.  For those staying on the Sunday night, the cost will be £65 per person in a single room and £54 per person in a double/twin.  For non-members of the BCA, please contact the organiser for the cost of accommodation.  The closing date for entries is 21st February.  Please send your entry fee and full payment for all accommodation to Gill Smith by this date.  Any resolutions or other items for inclusion on the AGM agenda should have been sent to Guy Whitehouse by 31st January 2020.  Also, let Guy know if you are planning to attend the AGM without staying at the hotel so that we can let you have the AGM papers.

Organiser Steve Burnell.

Friday 12th to Friday 19th June 2020:   The Sheila and David Milsom Memorial Chairman’s Cup.

This will take place once again at the Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth, which proved to be a very popular venue for our 2018 event.  It is very friendly and comfortable and we also have use of an outdoor heated pool.  The parking and green areas are also very good.

The Chairman’s Cup is open to all visually impaired players whose grade or estimated grade is ECF 140 (equates to FIDE 1750) or below in either the July 2019 or January 2020 grading lists and to BCA associate members within the same grading limit.  The event is played over 7 rounds with one round each day.  Players may request a half point bye in any one of the first six rounds.  If there are sufficient numbers there will be two sections.  Entry fee: £10.  Cost of dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation to members and associate members of BCA: £300 for the week irrespective of room type.  The cost to those booking for less than the full week will be £45 per day for members and associate members.  For anyone wishing to stay additional nights at the beginning or end of the tournament, the cost per night will be £65 per person regardless of room type.

In addition to the chess tournament there will be a varied programme of social activities.  Anyone with ideas for social events, or who wants further information is invited to contact the organisers:  John and Pam Jenkins.

The closing date for bookings is 27th April 2020.  Bookings accepted after that date, at the discretion of the organiser, will be subject to a late booking fee of £10 per person.  Bookings, including full payment, should be sent to: Mrs Gill Smith (see list of BCA Officers for contact details).  Please note: Rooms will not be reserved until full payment has been received.

Booking Conditions and Procedures

By entering a BCA tournament, a player is deemed to have consented for their name and any special requirements to be passed to the hotel prior to the event.  Also, consent is considered to have been given for a player’s name, club, results and possibly also their gender to be sent to the ECF for grading purposes.  For juniors, the date of birth is also required if they are to get the age-related grading bonus they are entitled to.

If you have any queries about the hotel or the tournament please contact the organiser.  Blind and partially sighted UK residents under the age of 25 receive free entry and free accommodation when playing in BCA events. In appropriate circumstances, free accommodation is also available to a parent or guardian accompanying a junior.

Visually impaired UK residents in their first year of membership receive their first BCA weekend event free or £100 reduction in the cost of a week-long event.  They may also be accompanied by a guide or companion who will receive the same concession.  For a first event we ask for payment in advance and we then make a refund at the event.  You may pay in these ways:

Cheques payable to Braille Chess Association should be sent to Gill Smith, treasurer@braillechess.org.uk  Online or telephone payments may be made to:

Braille Chess Association, sort code 40 52 40, account number 00082456.

Credit/debit card payments may be made through the BCA website.

If you pay by direct payment then you should inform Gill email: treasurer@braillechess.org.uk when the payment has been made.   Bookings accepted after the closing date are subject to a £10 late booking penalty for each person. Late bookings and entries are accepted at the discretion of the organiser. Bookings are confirmed when full payment has been received. Payments can only be refunded within the time limit set in the terms and conditions set by the hotels.  Members are advised to take out holiday insurance to cover themselves.


When contacting Gill email: treasurer@braillechess.org.uk  please let her know if you want a single, double or twin room and if you have a preference for a bath or a shower.  And remember, if emailing Gill, copy in the tournament organiser.

Also say whether any of the following apply.

1 If you will be bringing a guide dog;

2 If you are on a special diet;

3 If you have mobility problems and would benefit from being located in a room near to a lift;

4 If you are a wheelchair user;

5 If you feel you would have any special difficulties in an emergency such as a fire evacuation;

6 Any other special requirements.

The BCA reserves the right to refuse or cancel any entry or to exclude any person from any event it runs. 



Joining the BCA is easy. Simply contact our membership secretary, Mark Hague,

email the membership secretary or email our secretary, Guy Whitehouse,


  • 1 year (1st Oct-30th Sep) £10.00
  • 5 years  £20.00
  • Life membership £50.00
  • Under 25 years of age VI UK resident   free!
  • Under 18 years of age UK resident  free!

You can pay by cheque, postal order, by telephone or internet banking. You can also pay via our website here through our online payment service.

View the BCA online payment service.

Banking details, for those who may wish to make a telephone or internet banking payment to the BCA, are as follows:

Name: Braille Chess Association
Sort Code: 405240
Account Number: 00082456

If you choose these methods of payment please add a simple description indicating what you are paying for, e.g. life membership.

With your membership you will receive:

  • All literature that is sent out by the BCA
  • The possibility to play in our events.
  • Available subsidies to BCA events.
  • The BCA gazette.
  • The possibility to represent the BCA in events home and abroad.

For further information on what your membership will include, or to receive any literature giving you further information about the association, please contact our membership secretary.

For all other enquiries, please contact our secretary secretary@braillechess.org.uk

We hope to see you soon in our association!


All Under One Roof

A note from your Congress Support Officer, Mark Kirkham:

If you would like to participate in any of the following events, or indeed any that are not listed here, then why not make use of the congress support scheme?  It’s designed to help BCA members meet the costs of entering mainstream congresses such as travel and accommodation expenses, or just the entry fee itself.  It’s open to all members who have played in a BCA event over the past year who have not also received international funding.  Anyone who was previously deterred by the bind of writing a report on the event, will be pleased to hear that this requirement has been removed as we felt it was somewhat formal.  All we ask for now is a little feedback.

If you are considering entering one of the events listed below you may well find yourself in good company as some of them are popular with BCA members.  In order to make a claim there are three simple steps:-

  1. Contact the Congress Support Officer at least one week prior to the event. Retrospective claims will not normally be accepted. (See list of officers for Mark’s contact details.)
  2. Send a receipt or proof of expenditure to the Treasurer on return from the congress. Claims can include entry fee, accommodation, travel and any other reasonable expenses. The Congress Support Scheme does not cover claims for insurance.
  3. Provide feedback on the event to the Congress Support Officer. This does not need to be formal, and will be stored as an anonymous record for our database. It may benefit other BCA members thinking of attending the same event in the future.

Please note that, in the spirit of the Congress Support Scheme, failure to complete all of the above steps may mean that we cannot guarantee that your claim will be processed successfully, as the scheme is subject to available funds.  (Contact details for the Congress Support Officer and the Treasurer are in the list of officers.)

Editor’s Note:

Members are reminded that Mark Kirkham is stepping down as Congress Support Officer in April.  Anyone who is interested in taking over from Mark should contact him to find out more about the role.

List of All Under One Roof events by Guy Whitehouse:

This list should not be treated as definitive and is only as complete as I can make it whilst complying with gazette deadlines.  The following events take place in hotels so the accommodation and tournament are at the same venue.

Castle Chess

These are organised by the Castle Chess directors, Tony and Barbara Corfe and Marc Shaw.  The website www.castlechess.co.uk gives the email address enquiries@castlechess.co.uk. Castle Chess are well used to having visually impaired participants in their events.  I have also found that other participants in Castle Chess events have got to know and befriended BCA players.

Please note that unless otherwise stated, all Castle Chess congresses are six-round Swiss events and you are allowed to take a half-point bye in any two of the first five rounds.  The grading bands are an Open which also has an U175 Premier section, the Major for those under 155 with an Intermediate section for U135s, and a Minor section for those with a grade less than 115 with a Challengers section for U95s.

28th February – 1st March 2020, 16th Fareham Congress, Lysses House Hotel, Fareham.

This tournament is one of the most well-established events on Castle Chess’s programme and is popular with our members.

Other Events


13th – 15th March 2020, 44th Blackpool Chess Conference, The Imperial Hotel Blackpool FY1 3HB

Five round Swiss with sections: Lancashire Open, Major U181, Intermediate U155, Minor U135, Standard U115.

Email Bill O’Rourke: blackpoolchessconference@virginmedia.com Web: http://www.blackpoolchess.org.uk


9th – 13th April 2020, 2nd 4NCL Easter FIDE Rated Congress, Holiday Inn, Kenilworth CV8 1ED

Nine round FIDE Open.  Seven round sections: FIDE Rated U2050, FIDE Rated U1825 and ECF Under 120:

Contact: Mike Truran Web: http://www.4ncl.co.uk

10th – 13th April 2020, West of England Chess Union Congress, Royal Beacon Hotel, Exmouth, Devon

Seven rounds.  Sections: West of England Open (FIDE registered qualifying event for British Championships), FIDE rated major U1950, ECF graded minor U130.  These also incorporate the West of England Ladies’ Championship.  Contact: Meyrick Shaw Email: wecu@hotmail.co.uk Web: http://www.wecucongress.com

30th April – 3rd May 2020, English Seniors Championships, Holiday Inn, Kenilworth CV8 1ED

Seven rounds.  Two sections for players aged 50 or over and 65 or over. ECF graded and FIDE rated.  Contact: Ed Goodwin  Web: https://www.englishchess.org.uk/english-seniors-championships/

1st – 3rd May 2020, 2nd Cornwall Open Cornwall Congress, Falmouth Hotel, Falmouth.

The sections are the Championship (including players graded under 190), a Major (U-150) and a Minor (U-110). Contact Rebecca Gardiner Email: cornwallcongress@gmail.com

1st – 3rd May 2020, Durham County Chess Congress, Mercure Darlington, Kings Hotel, Darlington

Five rounds.  Sections: Open, Major (ECF rating 170 and below), Minor (ECF rating 135 and below).

Contact: Mick Riding  To enter online – https://durhamchesscongress.co.uk

22nd – 25th May 2020, 3rd 4NCL Spring Bank Holiday Congress, Basingstoke Country Hotel, RG27 9JS

Seven rounds.  Sections: FIDE Rated Open, FIDE Rated U2050, FIDE Rated U1825 and ECF Under 120:

Contact: Mike Truran Web: http://www.4ncl.co.uk


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