Salavkar wins GTL Championship for Blind

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Maharashtra's Vaishali Salavkar wins the GTL Limited National Women's Chess Championship for the Blind.

Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Maharashtra's Vaishali Salavkar has won the GTL Limited National Women's Chess Championship for the Blind. Vaishali and three other players will represent India in the Women's World Chess Championship for the Visually Impaired in Spain this November. This is the first time that India will be represented in the Championships. Besides being thrilled at winning the GTL Championship for the Blind, Vaishali Salavkar is excited about the fact that she will be leading India's first ever team at the Championship for the visually impaired in Spain this November. "I am really happy that I am going there for the first time. But I am happier that I will be representing India. I have tried really hard to win here but I will have to try much harder to win at the World Championships and bring honour to India's name," remarked the champion. Playing on a round robin basis, the top four players of the tournament will represent India at the World Championships. Despite being in poor form at the beginning of the tournament, Maharashtra's Vilesh Bhatt defended his title in the Men's "B" Championships. "Actually, I do not feel that I am in very good form right now as I have not been able to practice much. So I found the tournament quite difficult. I had very tough competitors like Dinesh who beat me in one of the games but I managed in the end," said Vilesh Bhatt. The men played nine rounds on a "Swiss League" Basis. The top ten players of the men's tournament have qualified for the National A level. Chess is one of the very few sports where the visually impaired can play with their sighted counterparts on an equal footing. The differences are -- on the chess board all black squares are raised four milimetres and all the 16 black chess pieces have a pin fixed to their head. The only allowance is that the visually impaired can feel the board and pieces. In the last few years, there has been a remarkable increase of visually impaired chess players in the country. Nearly 300 players had participated in the zonal level competitions before qualifying for this tournament.

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