Avery Shutt

Girl, 9, moves past her blindness with chess
Bob Gross, Times Herald 5 p.m. EST March 5, 2016

Avery Shutt is 9 years old – “I’m almost 10,” she insists – and she’s a member of the Michigamme Elementary School Chess Club.

She’s also blind – Avery was born with congenital cataracts and glaucoma, said her dad, Tom Shutt, and lost what little sight she had about three years ago.

But she wasn’t about to let that stop her from doing what she wanted to – learn chess and compete with other members of the chess club at Saturday’s Phil Willard tournament for students in the Port Huron Schools at Port Huron High School. Ninety-one students participated.

“I wanted to play last year,” Avery said,

Avery plays chess with the help of a braille chessboard. She recognizes the pieces from their shapes and the colors because the white pieces have a bump on the top and the black pieces are smooth.

Family friend Nicole Abraham moves the same pieces on a larger board so Avery’s opponent can follow the game.

She also rides a scooter up and down the family’s driveway in Port Huron Township, rides a tandem bike with her dad and plays with her mom, Amy; and brother, Tyler, 5; and little sister, Addison, 2 1/2.

Avery said she kind of enjoys being the big sister.

“I kind of do and I kind of don’t,” she said. “I kind of do because I get to be the boss of the kids.

Full article here.

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