Concern displayed on 64 squares

Adyar Exnora Women’s Guild seeks to brighten up the lives of the visually-challenged by conducting various events for them

Published - November 04, 2017 04:28 pm IST

A three-day chess tournament for the visually-challenged was conducted by Darshini.  Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

A three-day chess tournament for the visually-challenged was conducted by Darshini. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

On the face of it, it was a chess tournament with a social focus. It had been organised exclusively for the visually-challenged. The list of organisers had predictable names. The Tamil Nadu Braille Chess Association and The All-India Chess Federation for the Blind. That is , if you had overlooked the Adyar Exnora Women’s Guild.

What is an all-women Exnora group, one that is noticeably neighbourhood-centric, doing in a chess tournament for the visually-impaired?

With this question, a raft of interesting answers surfaces.

The Adyar Exnora Women’s Guild has been working for the welfare of the visually-impaired for a long time. The Guild had floated a charitable trust — Darshini — for this purpose.

In 2001, Darshini had hosted a similar tournament in 2001. So, this tournament, held for three days at the Youth Hostel in Indra Nagar, was being revived as the South Zone Chess Championship for the Visually-Challenged, after 16 years Volunteers of Darshini scribe and read for the visually-challenged. And, of course, the Trust conducts competitions for them.

The tournament had players from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Telangana. Some of these players have played at the national level.

These youngsters could draw inspiration from some members of the organising group, which includes K. Muthuraman. He is one of the beneficiaries of Darshini.

“From class VII, I have been playing chess. When I was 19, I began to take part in tournaments and also got to play in State and National events,” says Muthuraman, who is an associate professor of History at the Government Arts College in Dindivanam.

In 2005, the professor took part in a FIDE tournament in New Delhi. Later, in 2013, he founded the Tamil Nadu Braille Chess Association. “I was the first visually-challenged student from Tamil Nadu and third from India to take part in a FIDE tournament. Starting from my first year in college, Darshini has helped me a lot,” says Muthuraman, who is the joint secretary of the All-India Chess Association for the Blind.

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