Vaibhav Gautam is a chess player who is 90% disabled and cannot walk or speak but does all the talking through his chessboard moves.
28 chess players participated in the first ever state level chess tournament for the physically disabled conducted in Delhi. The All India Physically Disabled Chess Association is seeking to encourage and promote talent across India. To begin with it has asked different states to form their own associations and conduct state-level tournaments to unearth talent. Delhi is the most recent state to form an association and organize a tournament.
The core motive behind this event is to spread the popularity of the physically disabled chess and make it more common for everyone.
This was the first chess tournament for the physically challenged organized in Delhi and our aim is to build a strong team and take them to national-level tournaments. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh already have state-level associations for physically disabled chess and Delhi is the most recent one to follow. – Manoj Gautam, President, Delhi Physically Challenged Chess Association
The 20-year-old Vaibhav Gautam, who has cerebral palasy, emerged at the top at the end of the tournament.
“He started playing chess competitively three years ago”, says his dad Manoj. “He used to play as a child and got hooked”. Such tournaments are an opportunity for the disabled community to show the world that disability is not the only thing that defines them”, adds Manoj.
In second place was Sonu Bisht, also from Delhi. Sonu, who has cerebral palsy and a speech disability, has been playing for three years.
“I am glad for such an opportunity. It will give me a chance to improve my skills and play at national and international levels”.
Neha, who was declared winner in the third place, has been playing chess since 2012. She has an orthopedic disability and takes chess classes for beginners, mostly non-disabled.
“This was my first competitive event on this scale and I am grateful for the opportunity. This gives us hopes of taking our game to a bigger platform”.