4-time national blind chess champ Kishan Gangolli may quit the game, cites lack of support

Some of India's top players are showing their moves at the AICFB ‘National ‘A’ Chess Championship for the visually challenged that is currently on in Mumbai.

Gangolli won Asia Pacific Chess Championship in 2017

Leading them is Kishan Gangolli, who is the current Asian champion in blind chess and India's top ranked player.

In the midst of this crucial tournament that will decide the India team for the world championship, comes the shocking news that Gangolli is seriously thinking of quitting the game. The 26-year-old says that although he loves the game, his career in blind chess is taking him nowhere.

"I have been playing for 6-7 years and this is my sixth national championship. I have won the national championship for four years and even though I have won many medals, the government has not recognised us. I am happy that other disabled sports are getting support, but they should not be partial and give the same support to blind chess too". - Kishan Gangolli, National Blind Chess Champion

Gangolli had dreams of becoming an international grandmaster

Gangolli said that even though blind chess players compete with mainstream sighted players, they are not recognised. His passion for the game is evident in the fact that he left his graduation midway to concentrate on chess as a career. Now he says he is done.

"I have been very demotivated for the last one year as I did not get any recognition so I am planning to take a break for 2-3 years and not play the game. I will prepare for competitive exams instead" - Kishan Gangolli

The news has come as a shock to Dr Charudatta Jadhav, president of India's blind chess association, who is widely credited with popularising the game in India.

"I am shocked to hear Kishan's decision, but I cannot say I am surprised. He was so sincere and dedicated that he even left his studies and his decision is a sign of how little regard the government has for this game. He is not just a blind chess champion, but also a state champ in the sighted category, so you can gauge his immense talent" - Dr Charudatta Jadhav, President, Indian Blind Chess Association

This failure on the Indian government's part is especially hurtful given that India ranks fifth in the world when it comes to blind chess. In fact it has only barely recognised the Indian Blind Chess Association, making it hard for blind and visually impaired players to make any progress.

Gangolli's unhappiness is an indication of how poor the condition of blind chess is in India despite the fact that many Indian players rank among the world's best.