Mumbai, March 13 (IANS) The top three seeds of the tournament, Kishan Gangolli, Darpan Inani and Soundarya Kumar Pradhan expectedly got off to a winning start in the 16th edition of the AICFB National Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged, which commenced here on Monday.
On the top table, Sanjiv Kar of West Bengal opted for the English opening against Kishan Gangolli of Karnataka. Gangolli, the former National Chess Champion for the visually challenged, played calmly and won the game to make a good start with black pieces in the event being played at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, Keshav Srushti in suburban Bhayandar West.
On the second board, former champion Darpan Inani of Gujarat played against Amol Sakpal of Maharashtra, who opted for an unusual opening and tried to be aggressive. But the experienced Inani defended the game and forced Sakpal to surrender on the 31st move.
On the third board, Shivanagouda NM of Karnataka played against defending champion Soundarya Kumar Pradhan, who opted for French Defense and played aggressively. Shivanagouda failed to sustain the attack and surrendered on the 37th move.
Aryan B Joshi, Subhendu Kumar Patra, S.T Saikrishna, Akhilesh K Srivastava and Swapnil Shah also won their respective matches in the first round.
A total of 56 players (all visually challenged) have been selected to take part in this prestigious tournament based on their performance in the state and zonal chess tournaments conducted all over India.
The event is a selection tournament for an Indian team of four players for the forthcoming World Individual Chess Championship in October in Greece. Twelve players in the categories of totally blind (B1) and partially blind (B2 & B3) will be selected for the upcoming Asian Para Games to be held in October in Hangzhou, China.
Earlier, the tournament was inaugurated in the presence of Ravindra Dongre, Member Ethics & Disciplinary Committee, Sajandas Joshi, Founder Member of the AICFB; Raghunandan Gokhale, former President & Founder Member of the AICFB and Dronacharya Awardee in Chess; and Dr. Charudatta Jadhav, President of the AICFB & President of the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA).
The players were motivated and inspired by Dr. Charudatta Jhadav, a visually impaired chess champion himself, to raise awareness of chess for the blind to gain acceptance and alter public opinion.
“Having completed 25 years of AICFB, we want to take an active step to develop an infrastructure for blind chess and encourage more visually impaired individuals to pursue chess,” he added, referring to all the players as the organization’s ambassadors.