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Vidit eyeing the top-10

Vidit Gujrathi.  

GM Vidit Gujrathi, World No. 31, is looking ahead to engrossing contests with leading names in world chess. “I am looking at getting into the top-10 this year. Winning a tournament last month (Tata Steel Challengers 2018) has given me the opportunity to face top players,” he said.

The Maharashtra player watched the action at the 13th National ‘A’ chess championship for the visually challenged, in progress at the Andheri Sports Complex, and expressed his support for fellow-players with sight problems.

Winning the Challengers in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands, will earn the Indian an entry into the Tata Steel Masters next year, an elite competition featuring Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik.

“Now I have the opportunity to play at a high level. I have drawn against Carlsen (Isle of Man Open) and hope to make a difference,” said the fourth from India to cross 2700 Elo ratings.

Vidit agreed to be brand ambassador for visually challenged chess players. “This community has given me so much, I want to give back. It is the only sport where the visually challenged can compete with normal players, lending a sense of equality. I have not played with any such players, but interacted with them during rating tournaments.” He met players and key officials from the All India Chess Federation for the Blind.

The third highest among Indians on the latest FIDE ratings list (February 2018) after GM Anand and GM P. Harikrishna, the 23-year-old from Nashik district referred to road blocks ahead to be overcome.

“The main issue they are facing is recognition from the government. Visually challenged chess has players in numbers who need coaching support. The least we can give them is opportunity, because they are talented and hard-working. It is expensive for them to play normal chess tournaments, besides the challenges to overcome. They cannot read books, the main source of information for us, and we have coaching facility.”

According to him, arranging coaching is priority since it will lead to rise in quality. Vidit expressed disappointment at the reported decision of the current Asian champion Kishan Gangolli to give up the sport and seek a career outside sport.

“It is sad if the a national champion is forced to think about leaving chess. I don’t know how to make him change his mind, but we cannot afford to lose quality players. He is the best we have now.”

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 10:50:28 PM |

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