The 16th edition of India’s highest national chess championship for the blind, the “National Chess Championship” for the visually challenged, will be organized by the All India Chess Federation for the Blind (AICFB) from March 13th to 18th, 2023, at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini Keshav Srushti, Bhayandar West, Mumbai.
A total of 56 players have been selected to take part in this prestigious tournament on the basis of their performance at the State and Zonal Chess Tournaments conducted all over India. There will be a selection of the Indian team of four players for the forthcoming World Individual Chess Championship in the month of 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.
Dr. Charudatta Jhadhav, President of the AICFB, said, “This is the highest tournament of 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.” He further added, “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.”
This National Chess Championship will be played on a Swiss League basis in accordance with FIDE and IBCA rules. Winners of 2018 Asian Para Games and world championship medals Kishan Gangolli, Prachurya Kumar Pradhan, and Megha Chakraborty will compete again this year.
Dr. Charudatta Jhadhav is a chess champion himself and a National Award winner for the Best Disabled Employee of the Year. He and his team are spearheading the event and have done a lot of other initiatives for the blind. He is currently working at TATA Consultancy Services as the Head of the Accessibility Center of Excellence, which is part of the Corporate Research and Innovation unit. He has launched "Talk64," specially designed speech-enabled chess software for the blind, "Radio Chess," the world's first dedicated internet radio for Chess for the Blind, the world's first DAISY chess book in 2007 (an accessible chess book with audio and text synchronized), and many other such initiatives to support and encourage the blind in chess.