Everyone should have a seat at the table
The ECF believes that everyone should have a seat at the chess table – whether for over-the-board events or online – and is committed to helping make chess more accessible for all. As part of this initiative, we have provided some useful links [below] to organisations and websites set up for people with specific disabilities or impairments. These will be expanded as time goes on and the ECF builds more and better relationships with other organisations operating in similar areas.
If anybody knows of any organisations or websites that are also trying to make chess more accessible, can they please pass the details to the ECF at email@example.com. Use this email as well if you have any questions or suggestions that you think the ECF can help with.
[pictured – Jennitha Anto, six-time IPCA World Champion]
English Deaf Chess Association on Chess.com – https://www.chess.com/club/english-deaf-chess-association
The Braille Chess Association – https://www.braillechess.org.uk/
The International Physically Disabled Chess Association – http://ipca.online/
Guidelines for accessibility at ECF events
We are committed to making ECF events accessible to players with varying types of disabilities or impairments, and we follow the guidelines set out here for ECF events – https://www.englishchess.org.uk/guidelines-on-treatment-of-chess-players-with-impairments/
Online chess is going through something of a boom at the moment (late 2020), with more and more organised chess being played on the various online platforms (Chess.com, Lichess, Chess24, and ICC), given the lack of opportunities to play in OTB matches.
Adjustments for those with visual impairment
Online chess can prove difficult for those with visual impairments, but the links below provide some ways this can be overcome on Lichess, which is one of the most popular platforms. Lichess ‘blind mode’ was developed in response to community requests and allows Lichess to work with screen reader software (special software helper applications which are able to read web page text out loud to a user).
Lichess ‘blind mode’ can be turned on by the ‘Accessibility Mode’ button on the home page, which is visible to the main screen readers. The Lichess screens for game setup are then specially configured to work with screen readers in a way that allow those with visual impairments to create a game more easily, enter and receive moves, and generally keep track of game progress. The game screen is then reconfigured to read out the players moves in the same way that moves would be spoken by an opponent in an OTB match and also allows simple input of moves in a text box. Game details can also be read out to keep track during a match – https://lichess.org/blog/U5AX_DcAADkAz-L5/accessibility-for-blind-players. There is a YouTube video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOdZ6AyhwPw
We are researching similar capabilities on other platforms and will update this page as appropriate with further developments.