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National A for Visually Challenged: Kishan scores a hat-trick!

by Priyadarshan Banjan - 26/06/2016

Until the year 2008, there were only seven rated blind chess players in India. Today, there are more than 134 visually impaired rated players. The National-A for the Visually Challenged is the apex tournament of the strongest blind chess players of India. 

National A for Visually Challenged: Kishan scores a hat-trick!

Towards the end of the previous year, in a discussion with Mr. Charudatta Jadhav, General Secretary of the All India Chess Federation for the Blind (AICFB), I came to realize the key difference between the economics of normal chess and blind chess. This sport, over the previous three decades, has turned into a respectable goal to pursue. There is an established mechanism—a system in place for any person interested in learning chess—chess coaches, well-maintained associations, tournaments, etc. This is not the case with blind chess. A visually challenged person has no idea that he can actually play chess, let alone compete in a sport on par with the sighted.

 

Until the year 2008, there were only seven rated blind chess players in India. Today, there are more than 134 visually impaired rated players. The remarkable journey of close to two decades, where the AICFB has transformed chess for the visually challenged is an inspirational story in itself. The AICFB organized the eleventh edition of the premier national championship for its players from June 06 to June 14. The total prize fund was a measly Rs. 75,000, but in a cash-strapped environment, where the organizer has to pitch in with boarding and lodging, it is certainly not bad. Nevertheless, it feels strange when one thinks about the amount of effort involved in playing chess, and the amount of money the player gets paid for it, even stranger when you consider the kind of money complete idiots get paid for displaying their idiocy.

 

The National-A for the Visually Challenged is the apex tournament of the strongest blind chess players of India. The fourteen players playing in the tournament had picked their spots on merit from the National-B for the Visually Impaired that was held in December 2015 at Manipal. The event was held in the bustling suburb of Virar, lying on the outskirts of Mumbai. The whole expanse of this suburb is overseen by a temple of the so-called goddess Jivadani, that is situated atop a hill. Beginning from its foot is the city—a densely populated and haphazardously (un)planned area that houses most of the working-class of Mumbai.

 

Karnataka's Kishan Gangolli (2043)

Gujarat's Darpan Inani (1975)

The tournament was expected to be a race between two young stalwarts of blind chess in India — Kishan Gangolli and Darpan Inani. Kishan, the higher rated of the two, was on a hat-trick.

[Event "11th National A Chess Championship for V"]
[Site "Virar Thane Dist"]
[Date "2016.??.??"]
[Round "3.6"]
[White "Kishan, Gangolli"]
[Black "Marimuthu, K."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A80"]
[WhiteElo "2043"]
[BlackElo "1594"]
[PlyCount "95"]
[EventDate "2016.06.06"]
1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bg5 d5 4. e3 e6 5. Nbd2 Be7 6. Ne5 O-O 7. f4 Nbd7 8.
Ndf3 c5 9. c3 Nxe5 10. Nxe5 Nd7 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. Nf3 Rb8 13. Bd3 b5 14. O-O c4
15. Bc2 Rf6 16. b4 a6 17. a4 a5 18. bxa5 b4 19. cxb4 Rxb4 20. Qd2 Ba6 21. Rfb1
Rxb1+ 22. Rxb1 Rf8 23. Ne5 Rb8 24. Nxd7 Rxb1+ 25. Bxb1 Qxd7 26. Qb4 Qb7 27.
Qxb7 Bxb7 28. Kf2 Kf8 29. Ke2 Ke7 30. Kd2 Kd6 31. Kc3 Ba6 32. Kb4 g6 33. Bc2 h5
34. Bd1 h4 35. g4 hxg3 36. hxg3 Kc6 37. g4 Kd6 38. g5 Kd7 39. Kc5 Kc7 40. Bc2
Bb7 41. Kb5 Bc6+ 42. Kb4 Bb7 43. Bd1 Bc6 44. Kc5 Be8 45. a6 Bd7 46. a7 Kb7 47.
Kd6 Bc8 48. Ke7 1-0

 

 White to play

Kishan Gangolli won his third consecutive National-A for the visually challenged!

Darpan Inani took the second place.

The third place was taken by Yudhajeet DE (1647) of West Bengal

The winners are seen with the dignitaries, much richer than the prize fund of the tournament.