With his eyebrows knitted and his fingers placed tightly on the chessboard, Roshan Diware, 22, looked every inch a professional chess player at the Annual Chess Tournament organised at the Kamla Mehta Dadar School for the Blind in Dadar on Sunday.
“I have been training for the competition for more than two years now,” said Diware, a visually challenged student of Ramnarain Ruia College, who hopes to beat Vishwanathan Anand soon.
More than 50 visually challenged students from city colleges participated in the annual chess tournament, a brainchild of the All India Chess Federation for the Blind. This was the first time un-rated players could participate in the tournament.
“Based on their skills and past performances, players are rated for their proficiency,” said Vaishali Salavalkar, 40, a volunteer at the event, adding that owing to this change, amateurs got the chance to compete with professionals. “This is also a morale-building exercise.”
“I got to know of the game only last evening and had hardly any time to find a co-player to practise my game with,” said Saurabh Das, 20, a mass media student of RD National College, Bandra. “I immediately got down to my computer and practised my game online using the Job Access With Speech (JAWS) software.”
Even college authorities were pleased to note that their students were participating in such tournaments. “Such competitions is a stepping stone for them to face the real world,” said Dr Harsha Mehta, principal, SIES College, Sion.