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August 20, 2004

Blind and deaf player fights on

From: The Scotsman, UK - Aug 20, 2004


HE HAS been profoundly deaf since birth and 20 years ago he was tragically robbed of his sight.

But where immense courage and towering determination are needed to join the ranks of the best in the world, John Dearie has found he has those attributes, and then some.

The Glasgow-born chess player has become one of the world's best, in spite of his impairments.

Mr Dearie, from Riddrie, pitted his wits against some of the greatest international players at the prestigious World Deaf Championships tournament in Germany.

The organisers allowed Mr Dearie, 55, the only blind-and-deaf competitor, to use a braille board in the Hamburg tournament.

Despite being knocked out after achieving two draws, he impressed the judges so much that the World Chess Congress agreed to set up a separate section for deaf and blind participants in the 2008 event.

Mr Dearie played chess when he was a boy, but he gave up the game when he lost his sight more than 20 years ago. Staff at the Deafblind Scotland resource centre in Lenzie persuaded him to take it up again.