Manager for Disabled Chess

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
David Robertson
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by David Robertson » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:18 pm

Brendan O'Gorman wrote:
David Robertson wrote:
-- text omitted--

Finally, you agree with me that the provisions of the Equality Act (2010), into which the DDA (1995) is now folded, should be heeded. Good. But if they were met, then those 483 chess clubs that meet exclusively upstairs over the pub would need to find other premises - because currently they are acting unlawfully.

-- text omitted
David, while I applaud the sentiment behind your argument, this statement is too sweeping. The Act requires that reasonable steps are taken to provide access
"Too sweeping" is too sweeping: read closely what I said. What I said - carefully chosen terms - is: "clubs that meet exclusively upstairs". The terms of the Equality Act are both stringent and reasonable. So indeed, it is not unlawful to meet upstairs if a similar, reasonable, service to a person with disability can be suitably provided: say, downstairs.

@Ian Kingston: one of the few chess players who, when this was last discussed and now, understands 'the bleeding obvious' without the need for reams of explanation and justification. Does ECF need Jack to promote these matters? Look no further than the attitudes represented by Roger de Coverly

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:27 pm

David Robertson wrote: Look no further than the attitudes represented by Roger de Coverly
Let me repeat the question. If it was a choice between no chess club and and one unable to offer 100% access to disabled players, which do you choose? One of the major London clubs, the Drunken Knights meets upstairs in a room above a pub, would you evict them?

Graham Borrowdale

Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:46 pm

I don't see it as a question of whether Drunken Knights or any other club should be closed down. The issue, from the point of view of a player using a wheelchair, is that such venues will tend to put them off even developing chess as a pastime. Therefore they don't even try to play. Therefore clubs see it as a very occasional problem, and we get the argument of 'why should a club have to provide facilities on the off-chance that someone in a wheelchair wants to play once or twice a year?
In society as a whole access for wheelchair users has improved immeasurably: shops have small lifts, restaurants and hotels have step-free access, parking in disabled bays is slowly becoming socially-unacceptable, etc, etc.
Of course, disabled chess is not just about access for people in wheelchairs, but it is the most visible issue.
Jack, I wish you luck with this role. You might just need it.

David Robertson
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by David Robertson » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:52 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
David Robertson wrote: Look no further than the attitudes represented by Roger de Coverly
One of the major London clubs, the Drunken Knights meets upstairs in a room above a pub, would you evict them?
I don't have powers to evict them. And I'm not a member either. But were a person to apply and be refused membership on grounds of disability; or to be admitted in membership, but unable to enjoy services by reason of disability; then that person could seek redress in law. A Court could then decide that no reasonable steps had been taken to address the discrimination, and instruct that steps be taken. If the club takes no steps to the satisfaction of the Court, it acts illegally. Under such conditions, it would need to cease; or move premises.

The truly, tear-weeping, jaw-dropping, gob-smacking, table head-banging truth of the matter is that pretty much every organisation, association, club and so forth in Britain has moved on and solved this problem over the past decade or so. Except two - chess clubs and the BNP/EDL. Both continue to meet, indifferent to the modern world, in inaccessible backroom pubs.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:17 pm

In the same way that not all clubs will accept or are suitable for junior players, it's probably not essential that every club is able to accomodate disabled players. For every small club that meets in a pub function room there are other clubs that meet in easily accessible premises and welcome all new members. Again, as with juniors, it's about the relevant ECF official engaging with and building links with the clubs that offer the right facilities.

Of course in the 21st century physically disabled players who want to play chess can join the internet chess club without difficulty.

The other demographic that should come under Jack's remit are people with learning or behaviourial difficulties such as autism; who may have no difficulty sitting down and playing chess but need supervision to ensure that they do not disturb other players. By way of an example I remember a club match where a player in an opposing team insisted on discussing his game loudly afterwards - I was on the board behind and my opponent (from another visiting team and an occasional contributor here) became understandably annoyed. It later turned out the player concerned had Aspergers and as such needed to be told patiently a few times that he needed to keep his voice down.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Paul McKeown
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:39 pm

Some excellent posts by David Robertson. I may find myself cutting and pasting some of the arguments he has made on this topic, should I ever find myself having to deal with such issues in the face of resistance. Thanks!

I would make another suggestion to Jack: make sure that all the ECF services provided through the internet are accessible to persons with various relevant forms of disability. The Equalities Act 2010, which superseded the previous Disability Discrimination Act, has already been mentioned. I suspect that the ECF is required to comply with its provisions. The Equalities Act is framed to require "anticipatory compliance". Any organisation to which the Act applies, must act in anticipation of requests from the disabled, not in response to such requests. The Act places significant accessibility requirements on (amongst many other things) websites. And websites, being made from software, and central points of contact, are (relatively) easy and useful things to fix first.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:00 am

David Robertson wrote: If the club takes no steps to the satisfaction of the Court, it acts illegally. Under such conditions, it would need to cease; or move premises.
So to clarify, it's a Court that could take action, not the ECF or the London League. So it's an empty threat to propose that the ECF withdraw grading services from clubs or leagues who continue to meet in rooms upstairs without a lift. I doubt that Drunken Knights or any other club in similar circumstances would take the risk of refusing membership. They might however point out the practical difficulties.

The chess world has a long history of accommodation with those with disabilities, you only have to point to the longevity of the Braille Chess Association and the English Deaf Chess Association. I don't know why there isn't an English equivalent of IPCA, that was something Gerry Walsh and company were thinking about.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:04 am

Graham Borrowdale wrote: Of course, disabled chess is not just about access for people in wheelchairs, but it is the most visible issue.
Jack, I wish you luck with this role. You might just need it.
Disabled chess is also the visually and aurally handicapped, who have been part of mainstream chess with adapted rules since the 1920s or 1930s.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:18 am

Report of the meeting for Chess for the Disabled
October 27, 2013 in Dresden/Germany
Attendance:
David Jarrett (Fide), Stewart Reuben (Fide), Christian Krause (Fide), Zbigniew Pilimon (IPCA),
Svetlana Gerassimova (IPCA), Amarnath Inaganti (IPCA), Ruben Bernardi (IPCA), Michele Visco
(ICCD), Holger Mende (ICCD), Julio Silitzazu, Liboris Sollma, Ludwig Beutelhoff (IBCA),
Christine Beutelhoff (IBCA), Stephen Hilton (IBCA), Egmont Poenisch (IA, chief arbiter), Jan
Berglund, Thomas Luther (Fide), Henrik Teske (translator IPCA), André Irmscher (translator
ICCD), Chanda von Keyserlingk (Media)
Mr Luther opened the meeting at 10.00
The minutes of the Tallinn meeting were discussed.
Mr Hilton (SCO) was appointed as secretary of the committee.
Mr Visco said it is very important to have sign language translators in all chess events.
It was stated that an invitation to the International Paralympic Committee to the opening ceremony
of the 1st WCCD was sent, but there was no reply.
It was accepted to support a trainers seminar in Berlin (28-30.03.2014)
The wish to have an arbiters seminar during the 2nd WCCD (October 2015) was expressed. Mr
Poenisch told about the importance of education.
Support from the budget for Tromso was discussed. It was decided to wait for the proposal from
Tromso till January 2014 and later decide about the issue.
The question of supporting to run an office of the 3 organisations was discussed. Fide statues do not
give the opportunity to support a member federation for office costs.
Tournament rules were discussed. Mr Reuben told about the changes in 07.2014. The meeting was
informed that no player with a disability will suffer a penalty because of a disability in relation to
score taking. It would be nice to have comments on the laws of chess in sign language.
The topic of paralypics and chess was postponed to the afternoon.
Mr Visco expressed the wish for arbiters who know sign language for Tromso. This shall be
discussed with the Arbiters Commission. It would be nice if the ARB could contact Mr Poenisch
about special needs for disabled players. There are suggestions from arbiters in Dresden to share
their experience. 3 IA from the Dresden tournament would be willing to work in Tromso.
Mr Jarrett informed about the regulations of WADA. The teams in Tromso have to follow these
regulations.
The meeting had a wide ranging discussion on popularising chess for the disabled. Chess was
viewed a way of integrating disabled people into society. The committee will look and organise a
project within the budget. The secretary will be responsible to organise the project.
The meeting discussed how to raise awareness for chess for the disabled. The secretary wants more
help of federations in reaching out to disabled people. Each federation should appoint an officer for
this matter.
The setup of a website was discussed. It was agreed to have a website in the future. The setup of a
barrier-free website will be explored. The appointment of a publicity officer was postponed.
Mr Luther spoke about the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. The right of
participation and the right for information was discussed.
The possibility of ordering a bigger amount of chess sets for blind players was discussed. The
meeting could not decide on this issue. The question how to reach people who need them was
unclear.
Mr Hilton told that there are companies who produce ebooks for disabled people. The meeting
decided to look into the matter.
The issue of a talking chess clock was discussed. It was said there are few clocks for blind players.
One clock is produced in Spain. Mr Hilton will contact the Technical Commission for further
inspection.
The issue of multiple discrimination was discussed. Not all disabilities are covered by the 3
organisations. What to do for disabled players with another disability was discussed. It was decided
to look into paralympic rules before deciding on the matter.
It was decided to have Mr Luther as chairperson, Mr Hilton as secretary and 3 representatives in the
committee (all together 5 people)
13.00-14.00 lunch break
Mr Inaganti proposed to organise a trainers seminar end of 2014 in India. It was decided that he
shall contact the Trainers Commission about this matter.
Mr Jarrett told about the project to bring chess to the paralympic games. There was a detailed
discussion. Main topics were classification, medical issues and a format of an event. Mrs
Gerassimova described the current situation in Russia. It was decided to explore possibilities how to
establish a contact towards the International Paralympic Committee.
Mr Inaganti asked for funding an IPCA office. It was told that Fide can not fund the office of a
member federation or organisation.
Mr Luther closed the meeting at 16.00.
Thomas Luther
Adviser Chess for Disabled
29.10.2013

Since GM Thomas Luther was put in charge at my suggestion, some progress has been made in FIDE, including holding the recent World Championship. No English player played.

Welcome on board Jack.
Hastings Masters entry fees: reduced by 50% for registered disabled players. Jack, getting other congresses to imitate this would be a step forward. Not only helping lower the considerable costs that can be associated with playing, but also demonstrating that the organisers are welcoming.
Horntye Park where the Hastings Congress takes place: 'The playing venue is accessible to players with disabilities.' Do all congress entry forms express this when true?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:39 pm

Today, in addition to scrambling a draw with a player graded 167, I looked at Newton Abbot's venue with regard to its suitability for wheelchair users. It has step-free access and a disabled toilet, which are two good points. I'm not sure how easy it is to manouevre a wheelchair along the corridor to the room where we were playing, though; the larger room in which we've played every other time I've been there looks far more accessible.

David Robertson
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by David Robertson » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:21 pm

Good to hear that you are thinking the way those with mobility limitations have to negotiate the world. If more able-bodied people imagined themselves in disabled mode as they go about their everyday affairs, that would be a huge step forward. After all, by brute misfortune or from the passing of the years, physical disability can affect anyone.

Presumably, you were playing at Newton Abbott in the Courtenay Centre. If so, this would be an ideal venue, a community centre guaranteed to comply with the terms of the Equality Act. It wouldn't matter much if access to a specific room were difficult because a reasonable and suitable alternative would almost certainly be available.

Michele Clack
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Michele Clack » Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:33 pm

Church and community halls tend to be good for disabled access. We were fortunate to find one for our club which also has good lighting and heating systems. It does mean that our subs are higher than people who have free rooms in social clubs and pubs, but it is good to be able to see the board well!

Nick Ivell
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Nick Ivell » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:45 pm

Redworth Hall. A lovely venue for the fit, sighted and healthy. For those who are not, it was a bit of a problem that the conveniences were 39 steps away...

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Manager for Disabled Chess

Post by Joey Stewart » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:00 pm

I think that rather then setting up some sort of witch hunt for clubs that do not provide disabled access, what about setting up communications with clubs that DO. This would allow any new disabled players to liaise with jack, as the representative, and he would be able to provide them with details of a local club for them to go along to and play.

It seems quite a positive way to start the position, and surely should not attract any criticism.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

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