Blind Chess Olympiad

Blind Chess Olympiad

The Blind Chess Olympiad is an international chess competition for the blind in which teams from all over the world compete against each other.[1] The event takes place every four years, and is sponsored by the International Braille Chess Association.[1] The Blind Chess Olympiad is the largest sporting event in the international field of chess for the visually impaired.[2]



The forerunner to the Blind Chess Olympiads was a blind chess tournament held in Rheinbreitbach, Germany in 1958. The winner of the event was Reginald Walter Bonham, who would found the International Braille Chess Association.[3] The first official Blind Chess Olympiad was held in 1961 in Meschede, Germany. Eight teams competed to play 122 games in round-robin format with Team Yugoslavia as the resulting winner.[1][4] For the third Blind Chess Olympiad in 1968, held in Weymouth, England, 20 teams competed. Russia won the event with Yugoslavia in second place. The Polish team arrived by train in the early hours of the morning bringing with them the body of their sighted translator who had died en route (Reference: Organizer, John Graham). By the 2008 13th Blind Chess Olympiad in Heraklion, Crete, 34 teams participated making the Blind Chess Olympiad the most significant sporting event in the international field of chess for the blind to date.[2][5][6]

Rule modifications

Although most of the rules in blind chess are consistent with normal chess, there are a few modifications to the equipment to allow the blind and visually impaired to compete:[7][8]

  1. All the black squares are raised about 3–4 mm above the white squares on the chessboard. By feeling the squares, the player is able to determine whether the square is a black or a white one.
  2. Each of the squares on the board has a hole in the center so that the chess pieces can be fixed in these holes.
  3. Each of the pieces has a downward projection (nail) at the base, which fits into the hole in the squares on the board, thereby fixing the piece securely on the board.
  4. All the black pieces have a pin fixed on their heads helping the player distinguish between a white and a black piece.

After making every move, each player is required to announce their move aloud to their opponent. Instead of writing the moves on a chess score sheet, the visually impaired player writes the moves in Braille or records the moves on a tape recorder.[7]

Past results

# Year City Winner
1 1961 Meschede, Germany  Yugoslavia
2 1964 Kühlungsborn, Germany  Yugoslavia
3 1968 Weymouth, United Kingdom  Soviet Union
4 1972 Pula, Croatia  Soviet Union
5 1976 Kuortane, Finland  Soviet Union
6 1980 Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands  Soviet Union
7 1985 Benidorm, Spain  Soviet Union
8 1988 Zalaegerszeg, Hungary  Soviet Union
9 1992 Majorca, Spain  Russia
10 1996 Laguna, Brazil  Russia
11 2000 Zakopane, Poland  Russia
12 2004 Tarragona, Spain  Poland
13 2008 Heraklion, Greece  Russia

See also


  1. ^ a b c Blind Chess Olympiads History Retrieved September 7, 2009
  2. ^ a b XIII Olympiad for Blind and Visually Impaired Chess Players Retrieved September 7, 2009
  3. ^ Reginald Walter Bonham at Retrieved September 7, 2009
  4. ^ 1st Blind Chess Olympiad: Meschede 1961 Retrieved September 7, 2009
  5. ^ 13th Blind Chess Olympiad: Heraklion 2008 Retrieved September 7, 2009
  6. ^ 13th Blind Chess Olympiad at the Merseyside Chess Association Retrieved September 7, 2009
  7. ^ a b How the Visually Impaired Play Chess Retrieved September 7, 2009
  8. ^ Rule modifications of blind chess Retrieved September 7, 2009

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