M. D. Khalid, the only visually impaired chess player at the Parsvanath Chess Tournament was a happy soul on Monday.
Playing with black pieces at the Modern School, Barakhamba, he beat the unrated Abdulla Ibrahim of the Maldives, in Round 3. Earlier, Khalid had lost his first two rounds.
The 21-year-old Khalid is pursuing his B.A at the St. Stephens College, and says he took to chess inspired after a friend of his was cheated out of a civil services seat.
"Earlier, I was interested in writing the civil services exams," Khalid says. "But an unpleasant incident with a close friend forced me to change my plans. I felt chess is the only game where there's no scope for cheating. You sow what you reap in the form of your move."
Khalid had partial vision till around the age of 10, but it faded away quickly afterwards. Two of his three brothers are also visually impaired. The youngest of them is also a handicapped chess player.
He did his schooling from the J.P.M Senior Secondary School, Nizamuddin, which is being run by the Blind Relief Association. The school encouraged his pursuits.
"After the school recognised my talent, they provided me with a coach. He gave me chess lessons for 400 rupees per hour. I trained for six months."
Later, he stood 20th at the Ahmedabad Open Chess Tournament for blind held in 2007.
He feels the government isn't doing enough to groom handicapped sportspersons. "I need a coach who could groom me but there is nobody. But I still haven't lost hope," he says. We all live in hope.