Viswanathan Anand

Message on occasion of XI Individual World Chess Championship for the Blind

It gives me immense pleasure to note that the XI Individual World Chess Championship for the Blind will be held in my country, India. Chess is one of the few games where the battle takes place in the mind of the individual. I play one blindfold event every year and for me that is the most daunting format. My wholehearted respect and admiration goes out to these players. Chess by itself is a complex game and these individuals have taken human calculation to a new level.

I have interacted with many visually challenge players and I can say honestly that these players have a special talent to see the pieces in their mind when they play. For us it is very difficult to be able to imitate that special skill.

Once I happened to play a match against visually challenged players. While playing I realised that on the chessboard we were both rivals and they rightly had to be treated so. It is this quality that makes a champion out of a player. And I can say that each of these participants here have this unique quality to strive and succeed. I applaud their ambition and spirit of competition. Sportspersons like me have a lot to learn from these gifted individuals.

I also would like to felicitate the organisers for bringing this event for the first time here in Asia and India. Unfortunately I will not be able to be with you all but I wish you all the best and hope you enjoy the event

GM: Viswanathan Anand