Indians Dominate Asian Blind Championship

Indians Dominate Asian Blind Championship
By Arvind aaron

Second seed Kishan Gangolli of India won the Asian Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged at Manipal in India on March 31, 2017. Kishan scored 7/8 and finished two points ahead of top seed Husain Ejaz of Bangladesh.

This is a significant performance since Bangladesh had the top and fourth seed players in its ranks. The Indians managed to beat and push the visitors to the middle of the pack. Kishan beat top seed Ejaz Husain in 75 moves in a long knight ending. Kishan drew Swapnil Shah and Aryan Joshi in the sixth and eighth rounds and beat six others to finish on top with seven points from eight games.

The IBCA Asian Chess Championship for the Visually Challenged 2017 was organised by the All India Chess Federation for the Blind at Manipal University, Manipal, Udupi in Karnataka from March 23-31, 2017. IA M Manjunatha was the chief arbiter and he had IA V Anandh Babu as Deputy Chief Arbiter and they had four others deputy arbiters to successfully run the event.

The second and third places went to Ashvin Makwana and Soundarya Kumar Pradhan who finished one point behind the champion. With the exception of Kishan, all others suffered atleast one defeat. The National ‘A’ Championship was held within the last month and the Indian were warm and had good practice. So much so that the last four placings went to visitors! Cash prizes and medals were awarded. Kishan Gangolli received the gold medal and Rs.50,000 while Ashvin got silver medal and Rs.40,000 while Soundarya Kumar Pradhan received the bronze medal and Rs.30,000.

A total of 23 players from four nations took part. Bangladesh (2), Sri Lanka (3) and Philippines (one) and 17 Indians took part. Indians were dominant and took the top six slots. Eighteen of the 23 players had FIDE ratings. One round was played every day and the event had one free day. The players were taken to the Malpe Beach, Moodbidre Temple, 42-feet high Karkala Gomateshwara statue in a trip organised by the Manipal University.

Chief Arbiter Manjunatha said in his report, “I am glad to add that not a single person who participated was unhappy at any moment.” A message from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a huge boost for the organisers and the International Braille Chess Association organised Asian meet.

At the closing, Kishore Alva, Executive Director, UPCL Adani Power Ltd gave away the prizes in the presence of Dr H.S. Ballal, Pro Chancellor, Manipal University and Dr Charudatta Jadhav, Founder-President of the All India Chess Federation for the Blind (AICFB).
Each round was separately inaugurated and the atmosphere was festive.

The AICF for the Blind which is a member of the All India Chess Federation, organised this event in a very successful manner. They had previously stage mega events like the Chess Olympiad for the Blind at Chennai some years ago. Big events hosted inside India itself will help our players to participate and win prizes and medals in continental events such as these.

Final placings: 1 Kishan Gangolli 7/8; 2-3. Ashvin K Makwana, Soundarya Kumar Pradhan 6 each; 4-8. Aryan B Joshi, Swapnil Shah, Krishna Udupa, Ejaz Husain (Ban), K Marimuthu 5 each; 9-11. B.L. Somender, Milind Samant, Bappi Sarkar (Ban) 4.5 each; 12-14. Yudhajeet De, Shirish Patil, Prachurya Kumar Pradhan 4 each; 15-17. Waghmare Sachin Lahu, Mrunali Pande, Jose Antonio M Maraguinot (Phi) 3.5 each; 18-19. Rodolfo D Sarmiento (Phi), Vaishali N Salavkar 3 each; 20 Tuan Rushdi (Sri) 2; 21 Liyana Arachchilage Upul Indraji (Sri) 1; 22-23. Hiriyamulla Vithage Sanjeeva Ka (Sri), Arthur M Letim (Phi) 0 each.