Blind Chess Olympiads history

Chess for visually impaired peopleThe forerunner of these event was an individual tournament held in Rheinbreitbach in Germany in 1958. Multiple Blind World Champion R.W.Bonham won. The actual Blind Olympiads commenced in early 1960s and the first event was held parallelly with the second IBCA congress in West Germany in 1961. Eight teams participated and Yugoslavia won easily scoring 22/28. It was then decided that the Olympiads would take part every four years. The second edition in Kühlungsborn saw a nine team round robin, again won by Yugoslavia.

The third edition took place in 1968 in Weymouth, GB, and number of participating nations doubled, reaching 20, so that a Swiss system was adopted. It was the first Olympiad of the Soviet Era. The Soviet Union won six consecutive Olympiads 1968—1988 and Yugoslavia were second every time. Number of participating nations fluctuated steadily around twenty to reach peak at 25 in 1988. The Swiss system was replaced with the two stage competition with top teams from each preliminary group qualifying to the finals.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia not only triggered increase of a number of competing teams up to 33, but also let the newly emerged nations take the initiative. The 1992 Olympiad, being back a Swiss event, was won by Russia ahead of retrenched Yugoslavia and Ukraine. As the Blind Olympiads for the first time in the history left Europe and moved to Brazil in 1996, three post-Soviet nations finished on top: Russia won ahead of Ukraine and Belarus. In 2000 the Olympiad took place in Poland and Russia scored their third consecutive win. The 2004 Olympiad was held in Spain. Poland took their first ever title edging Russia on Buchholz count.

Winners: 6x Soviet Union, 3x Russia, 2x Yugoslavia, 1x Poland




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