MUMBAI: Winners of the 2018 Asian Para Games and World Championship medals Kishan Gangolli, Prachurya Kumar Pradhan and Megha Chakraborty will be the top attraction in the 16th edition of the AICFB National Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged starting here in Bhayandar on Monday.
Gangolli won the gold medal in the Individual Rapid section and silver in the Team Rapid in the B2/3 category the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia while Prachurya Kumar Pradhan won silver in Team Rapid in the B1 section. Megha Chakraborty also won a silver in the women's Team Rapid.
Gangolli, a multiple-time winner of the national title, has been the country's best visually-impaired chess player for over a decade now and will be the top favourite for the title in his category in the National Championship which will be played from March 13-18 at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini Keshav Srushti, Bhayandar West, Mumbai.
He is expected to face some tough challenges from the strong field that includes seasoned Darpan Inani, the youngest winner of the National title in 10, and Asian Para Games medallist Soundarya Kumar Pradhan. The event was last held in Mumbai in 2018 at the Andheri Sports Complex.
A total of 56 players have qualified for this prestigious tournament based on their performance in the state and zonal chess tournaments. The National Chess Championship will be played on a Swiss League basis in accordance with FIDE and IBCA rules.
The tournament is quite important for the players as performance in it will be the basis for the selection of the four-member Indian team for the forthcoming World Individual Chess Championship to be held 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 that will be held in October in Hangzhou, China.
Megha Chakraborty, a silver medallist at the Asian Para Games 2018, will be the top attraction in the women's B2/3 section section
Dr. Charudatta Jhadhav, President of the AICFB, said, "This is the highest tournament in India that will give a path to many upcoming champions of India. We want to raise awareness about blind chess and give support and recognition to the players who made blind chess popular in India. AICFB's various technology-based initiatives, like internet radio service and online training sessions, have led to large numbers of participants."
"Our country has emerged as one of the strongest chess players in the world. Throughout the past years, India's performance at the World Chess Championships and Olympiad Games has improved tremendously. We seek the support of stakeholders and the government to come forward and encourage the players who are blind or visually impaired to leave their mark on the nation and the world," he was quoted as saying by the organisers in a release on Sunday.
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