First rounds games to begin today
The International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) Asian Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged-2017 was inaugurated here on Wednesday. The first round games will begin on Thursday as teams from Yemen and the Philippines are to yet arrive, while teams from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are already here. The championship, hosted by Manipal University, is being organised by the All India Chess Federation for the Blind (AICFB) under the aegis of IBCA and All India Chess Federation.
Prakash Jayaramaiah of Ramanagaram district, who was the vice-captain of the Indian cricket team for the visually challenged, which beat Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup, and Samarth J. Rao, a class 10 student of Government High School, Honnavar, Uttara Kannada district, were felicitated on the occasion.
Mr. Jayaramaiah is an opening batsman and wicket keeper who won Man of the Match for his unbeaten 99 in the finals. He also won the Man of the Series award.
Samarth Rao, hailing from Kundapur, brought laurels to the State by winning silver medal in the national-level Physically Disabled Chess Championship held in Tiruchirapally, Tamil Nadu, in April 2015. He also won bronze at International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA) 2015, World Individual Chess Championship held at Slovakia in June 2015 and World Individual Chess Championship at Serbia in July 2016.
Speaking on the occasion, Charudatta Jadhav, vice-president, IBCA, explained the progress made in the game for the visually challenged in the country. The country launched a chess software for the visually challenged in 2006. “Today, more than 30 countries are using this software. The internet radio would be used extensively by players to sit at home and study moves and train,” he said.
However, he regretted that visually challenged chess players were not getting due recognition from the government. “When our players perform well at international levels, we do not get the same kind of recognition that players of other games get,” Mr. Jadhav said.
H.S. Ballal, Pro-Chancellor, Manipal University, said that cricket got more importance in the country and most other games were ignored. “The visually challenged or differently abled persons do not require sympathy. They require opportunity,” he said.
Vinod Nayak, Sports Council Secretary, Manipal University, welcomed the gathering. K. Rajgopal Shenoy, vice-president, United Karnataka Chess Association, gave an overview of the championship. Kishore Alva, Executive Director, Adani, UPCL, was present.