Can Soundarya and Aryan bring home medals at the World Juniors for the Blind?
The World Women's Championship and the World Juniors for the blind is taking place from the 14th to the 23rd of August 2018 in Solec Zdroj, Poland. Two Indians Soundarya Kumar Pradhan and Aryan Joshi are representing the country at the World Juniors. After five rounds they both are on 3.5/5 in the 4th and 5th positions. Both of them have good chances to win a medal for our country. In this report you will find not only information about the Indian participants, but get an insight into the world of blind chess and also about the women's world championship. This report comes from Poland from Sagar Shah with photos by Amruta Mokal. Both of them are present at the venue as the coaches of the Indian team.
The World Women's Championship and the World Junior Championship for the blind and visually impaired are being held from the 14th to the 23th of August 2018 in Solec Zdroj, Poland. India was going to send three participants for the championship - Vaishali Salavkar for the Women's event and Soundarya Pradhan and Aryan Joshi for the Juniors section. At the last moment Vaishali had to cancel due to the lack of funds. Soundarya and Aryan, who are two of India's finest visually challenged players proceeded to represent the country in the juniors section. The team was joined by author of these lines and Amruta Mokal as the coaches of the team.
When we think of blind players we think of people with limited or no eyesight. But what we are unable to fathom is the repercussions of this disability towards the various facets of life. Check this behind the scenes video to see how Soundarya who is 100% visually challenged makes use of his mobile phone:
Soundarya made good use of his time on the flight by following the games of the Abu Dhabi Masters on Follow Chess App. A big shout out to Asim Pereira and his team that has made Follow Chess App accessible for the blind with the Talkback feature. Asim also sponsored premium membership to both Aryan and Soundarya so that they can prepare better for their event. All those who are not aware of Follow Chess App can check out the video with the creator over here.
The World Junior Championships has brought together eighteen of the top blind players of the world from nine countries to fight it out against each other in a nine-round Swiss League format. The top seed of the event is Adam Czajkowski from Poland (2232). With 18 participants and 9 rounds, there was a high chance that Aryan and Soundarya would be pitted against each other. But we didn't expect that it would happen as soon as round two.
The battle between the two Indians on Independence Day of India!
Both of Aryan and Soundarya won their first round on 14th of August 2018 and were paired against each other on the Independence Day. Two Indians 6000 kms away from home, two Indians staying with each other in a room, two Indians who are excellent friends of each other! The easy way out was to accept a draw, be on 1.5/2 and then try to fight in the remaining 7 rounds. But both Aryan and Soundarya consciously decided that they should fight over the board. They shouldn't succumb to the attraction of an easy result. Yes, it was difficult to prepare against each other in the room, it was difficult to have this sort of competitive feel in mind when both wanted each other to do well. But they withstood it.
They sat down, shook hands and fought as hard as they could. Soundarya sacrificed an exchange and tried his best to mate Aryan's king. Aryan defended calmly and refuted the attack and won the game. As soon as the game ended, they were back as being friends. Aryan held Soundarya's hand and they both came back together to the room.
Soundarya and Aryan two visually challenged Indian players showed the perfect balance of Independence and Dependence. They knew that off the board they are both dependent on each other, but on the board they were the masters of their own future! Completely independent! That's what independence is all about. Making the right choice when you have to be dependent and when you would like to have your freedom!
Mirko Eichstaedt is a strong positional player. He is been able to keep control and at the same time create chances for himself. Here is his fifth round win over the talented Russian youngster Ermakov, where the German is seen converting a small edge into a full point with calm and controlled play.
Aryan Joshi vs Stefan Mitrovic
Standings after round 5:
|4||8||ARYAN B Joshi||IND||1623||3,5||13,5||14,5||3||0,0||2|
|5||3||SOUNDARYA Kumar Pradhan||IND||1808||3,5||13,0||15,0||3||0,0||1|
|9||13||JOHANSSON William 2007||SWE||1448||2,5||13,5||15,5||2||0,0||1|
|10||6||DIAZ DE LA GUIA Luis||ESP||1718||2,5||12,0||13,0||2||0,0||2|
Women's World Championship:
Zisltzova is a legend in women's visually impaired chess. Just have a look at her achievements. She won her first world champion title in Szczyrk in 1989 , then defended it four times in 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005. She lost the title only in 2009, occupying the third place (behind Daria Pustowarzowa and Anna Stolarczyk ) in the championships played in Wągrowiec.
Between 1994 and 2008, she appeared six times in the team of the IBCA at chess Olympiads, each time on the first chessboard. She has two gold medals for individual results, which she won in 1994 (score 10½ points out of 13 lots) and 2006 (score 9 points out of 10 lots). She has successfully competed with men, being the main player of the Ukrainian national team.
The highest ranking in her career so far has been Elo of 2296 that she reached in September 1, 2009 which placed her 14th among Ukrainian women players!
Standings after round 5:
|6||19||Brahmana Aisah Wijayanti Putri||INA||0||3,5||11,0||3|
The city of Solec Zdroj and Hotel Malinowy Raj
Solec-Zdrój is an administrative district in south-central Poland. The district covers an area of 84.9 square kilometres (32.8 sq mi), and as of 2006 its total population was 4,987. With such a low population you could hardly see people on the street! I walked a bit through the town and the natural beauty was quite enchanting.
Amruta Mokal's five favourite pictures:
Amruta Mokal is one of the finest photographers in the world of chess. She has taken many nice pictures. But here we share five of her favourite ones: