World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, on Friday, appealed to the All India Chess Federation to extend the official status for 'Blind Chess' at district, state and national levels.
The five-time world champion said: "The fact is that the normal as well as the blind players faced the same kind of situations while playing and trying to improve. It was good to see that chess for the blind was being encouraged but it was high time it is included as one of the categories of regular competitions."
Participating in the inaugural function of the conduct of the 14th Chess Olympiad for the first time in India here, Anand said his association with blind chess goes back a long time when a bunch of visually impaired players had come here to meet him.
AICF for Blind's general secretary Charudatta V Jadhav announced that 32 countries would be in the fray for the Olympiad as against the originally announced field of 46 countries.
"Due to the situation in Europe some teams dropped out," he said.