National Chess C’ship for visually challenged: Kishan Gangolli regains the coveted title

Mumbai, March 18 Former champion Kishan Gangolli emerged as champion of the 16th AICFB National Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged here on Saturday, bagging the title for the 7th time in his career.

On the final day of the competition, Kishan Gangolli of Karnataka finished with 7.5 points from nine rounds, finishing half-point ahead of Aryan Joshi of Maharashtra and Soundarya Kumar Pradhan of Odisha. Ashvin Makwana (Gujarat) and Darpan Inani (Gujarat) were joint-fourth with 6.5 points while Somender BL (Delhi) ended with 6 points.

The winners were awarded a total of Rs 1 lakh cash prizes and trophies by the All India Chess Federation for the Blind (AICFB).  

The top four players — Kishan Gangolli, Aryan Joshi, Soundarya Kumar Pradhan and Ashvin Makwana — will form an Indian team for the forthcoming World Individual Chess Championship to be held in Greece in October.

Twelve other players in the categories of totally blind (B1) and partially blind (B2 & B3) will be selected for the upcoming Asian Para Games that will be held in October in Hangzhou, China.  

A total of 56 players (all visually challenged) were selected to participate in this prestigious tournament based on their performance at the state and zonal chess tournaments conducted all over India.  

Speaking during the prize distribution ceremony, Dr Charudatta Jhadhav, President of the All India Chess Federation of the Blind (AICFB) and International Braille Chess Association (IBCA), expressed gratitude to all those that played a role in the successful conduct of the event.

“We are very proud of all the players who have strived hard and reached here to achieve recognition on a national level. After this, our next steps will include preparing the national winners for the World Championship and Asian Para Games of 2023.

Along with this, we will also move forward to achieve our vision of providing technology-based infrastructure to empower the visually challenged to pursue chess and prepare themselves for all the various tournaments in the coming future. Besides this, we also wish to come up with a standard maturity model to track the performance of players and highlight improvisations,” Dr Jhadhav said.

He said the AICFB is taking all steps to promote chess in schools.

“We are taking every possible initiative to promote chess in schools for the visually impaired and start chess academies in every state under the Program Uddan. Our targets can be achieved with humble support from stakeholders and government organizations,” the AICFB president said.

“The AICFB is coming up with various initiatives, including mobile software for the visually challenged to learn, play, and analyze chess independently; an online training portal with pre-recorded lectures; and an online library with audiobooks. Additionally, AICFB is coming up with an online tournament platform to make it feasible for the visually challenged to compete from their homes for the experience,” he added.

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