ICSC’s visit to Bled
It was on the evening of November 4th 2002
when Mr.Phillip Gardner (ENG) and I made a surprise visit to the
Hotel Ribno, located at a beautiful place near the Bled village in
Slovenia, close to the Austrian border. We entered a room specially
reserved for the ICSC teams to carry out analysing games and there
we greeted Michele Visco and the players. We noted the routine of
the day and the players themselves were happy about the arrangements.
The players received the daily booklets of games
played on the previous round. Once they knew who their teams were
for the afternoon matches, they analysed their opponents’ openings
and prepared their little surprises. There was a lot of goodwill and
co-operation between the players who were willing to exchange ideas
and they were led by the energetic veteran, Serguei Salov, who gave
up his valuable time for the players by going through their games.
The players very much appreciated help from Salov.
On November 5th, after the morning
analysis work session, Visco, Gardner and I went for a delightful
walk through the forest with the ladies S.Gonchar, O.Nazarova and
L.Rossinskaia and we enjoyed communicating with each other in the
International Sign Language. We then returned for lunch and after
lunch, we were taken to the playing hall by a coach. On arrival, the
hall was a huge building, made colourful by the presence of the
flags of every country and our own flag, ICSC! The sight of so many
tables with chess clocks and boards and pieces lined up beautifully,
was out of this world. It was simply wonderful to behold. We will
never forget this experience. Gradually all players arrived on the
scene. Many gathered to one area with flashing cameras and this was
where Garry Kasparov played. Clocks were started and heads were
Gardner and I had the change to look around and were
helped by the large electronic chess boards to see how some of the
world’s best players were progressing. Judith Polgar, Mickey Adams,
and so on were. Our ICSC teams were playing some fantastic chess and
justified themselves as capable of playing against best players of
other countries. We were proud of them, both men and ladies who
represented ICSC. We also noted the valuable contribution to the
well being of the teams by their captains, Salov for men, and Visco
During the afternoon matches, Visco and I went to
another hotel for a meeting with the FIDE Committee on Chess for the
Disabled. The President of the Slovenia Deaf Sports Federation, Mr.
Janez Slatinsek was present, having brought the translator, Blanka
Rot. Also present was Mr. Blatny (CZE) who was the chief arbiter at
the ICSC World Teams Chess Championships in Brno. He represented the
IBCA (Blind). There a few others present. We discussed the problems
and we presented our case. We were assured that our proposals would
be laid before the FIDE Congress to be held in a few days’ time.
It was a very constructive meeting and the members of the committee
had the opportunity of meeting Visco as the newly elected President
of ICSC. At the end, we thanked Mr. Walsh the Chair of the Committee
for his advice and help.
Back to the Hotel Ribno, we received the results of
the round and the pairing of the teams for the next day’s matches
and the games bulletins. After supper, the players were back in the
analysis room and the routine went on as usual.
The next morning Gardner and I returned to England and our hearts went out to the ICSC teams who faced the ordeal of playing 14 rounds. When we received the final results, and tables, the decision to send the ICSC teams to participate in the Olympiad Chess was justified. My grateful thanks to Mr. P.Gardner, Messrs. Visco and Salov for ensuring the well-being of the players and to the players themselves for keeping the flag ICSC flying high. Also our grateful thanks to Mr. Janez Slatinsek of Slovenia for giving up his time to help us through with interpreting services and to allow the ICSC group to visit the Slovenia Deaf Sport Federation headquarters and Mr. Walsh for the opportunity for us to meet the committee members. On the whole, one of my most memorable visits of my life.
A.J. Boyce, I.C.S.C. President
(from the bulletin “Mitteilungsblatt“ – December 2002 - Nr. 113)