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With a gritty mind and agile hands

K. Lakshmi

100 visually impaired persons played chess with ease at a tournament organised by an NGO



A visually challenged player concentrates on his next move in the chess tournament for the visually impaired organised on Sunday. Photo: K.Pichumani

CHENNAI: Chess is a mind game, a combination of challenges and concentration, making it exciting for both players and spectators alike.

The chess tournament on Sunday was all the more interesting: 100 visually impaired persons played the game with ease and agility. Visual impairment was not at all a barrier for them.

Braille boards

Organised by Nethrodaya, a self-help organisation for the visually challenged, the V.T. Lazar Memorial Adapted Chess Tournament had enthusiastic participants from southern States.

The Braille chessboards were slightly different from the normal ones.

The squares had peg holes to hold chess pieces, and the white pieces had a projected dot on the top.

S.T. Sai Krishna, a 10-year-old boy, hogged the limelight, winning four of the five rounds against those much older than him.

A.Goutham, of Class XI, was another enthusiastic player.

"I play the game with stones at home. This tournament was a good opportunity for chess lovers like me," he said.

After a nail biting tiebreak, P. Kaalisekhar, a second year student of English literature in Madras Christian College, won the title with five points, defeating Rajkumar from Thanjavur, who stood second.

S. Bhagyaraj won the third place. Appreciating the efforts of the Nethrodaya, Social Welfare secretary, N.S. Palaniappan said the Government was prepared to help the visually challenged through its schemes. They must make use of the opportunities through NGOs.

He said ramps were being provided in government offices, and a State Commission for Disabled was formed to assist them. One per cent of the jobs is set aside for the visually impaired.

Challenge

Actor Srikanth said the visually impaired were more of a challenge than a handicap. He asked the players to develop self-confidence and take part in more such activities.

Nethrodaya founder C. Govindakrishnan said a cricket tournament would be conducted for the visually impaired. A browsing centre was also being set up in Nethrodaya.

Sukanya Venkatachalam, general manager, Chennai Wellington Corporate Foundation, and R. Srinivasan, managing director of Radha Park Inn, also participated.

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