A CHESS tournament for the blind is being held in Bournemouth.

The Chairman’s Cup competition, hosted at the Whitehall Hotel, Exeter Road, began on Saturday and runs until Friday.

The contest, featuring 17 blind or partially sighted players, is held at the hotel every other year and organiser John Jenkins said it attracts competitors from across the country.

“The standard is very high,” he added.

“Chris Ross has just come across from Greece after competing in the world championships there.

“Later Chris will be analysing one of the games he played in Greece for us.”

The players all use their own boards comprising of slightly raised black squares, so that the players can distinguish between positions.

“You can feel your piece all the time, unlike in sighted chess,” said John. “You then tell your opponent what move you have made.”

John, who is now semi-retired and used to work as a systems analyst, began playing around six years ago. Although modest about his own ability, he said many of the players are capable of beating high quality sighted opposition.

He added that he has previously played chess without a board at all, relying completely on a picture he creates in his mind.

John praised the hotel for their helpfulness during the week and said it has proved a popular venue for players who frequently travel to play in different competitions.

As well as chess playing, the event also encompasses entertainment, including a barber shop band and a performance from the Highcliffe Charity Players.