Kishan Gangolli wins IBCA Asian chess championship

Kishan Gangolli of India won the IBCA Asian Chess Championship for visually challenged at Dr TMA Pai Hall, KMC, here on Friday. He emerged victorious with seven points to take home a prize money of Rs 50,000. Finishing second and third were Indians Makwana Ashvin and Soundarya Kumar Pradhan respectively. Both had six points each. But taking the ratings into account, the former claimed the silver and latter the bronze with a purse of Rs 40,000 and Rs 30,000 each.

Going into the last round, the Karnataka lad needed only a draw to clinch the title. He did just that. Taking no chances against a much younger player from Maharashtra, Aryan B Joshi, who is fast developing into a fine player, Kishan offered a draw very early in the game and Aryan accepted it. Aryan has had a good outing and he finished fourth here with five points and took a cash prize of Rs 20,000. In fact, all the first three finishers opted for drawn games today.

Speaking to DH, the victorious Kishan Gangolli, who hails from Gangolli in Kundapur and now settled in Shivamogga, said he is immensely excited to win the title. The five-time champion said he developed interest in the game in class 6. The 25-year-old has completed his MA in Economics and is studying for competitive exams. However, chess being his top priority, he dreams of becoming an international master by winning gold in the forthcoming Blind Chess Olympics both in team and individual category.

Thanking parents for their immense support, the chess wonder added that he is all set to take up the challenge in Macedonia wherein the selection for chess Olympiad is carried out in June. He dedicates hours together playing chess. He started working on chess in 2003 and is receiving the benefits now, he added. From 2013-17, he is the national official champion. In 2014, the Indian team reached the fifth position in the World Open Chess Championship held in Greece. He lamented that government has no supportive action for the blind chess players.

On second board Krishna Udupa (Karnataka) India played with white pieces against Ashvin Makwana (Gujarat). Krishna played Kings Pawn opening and Ashvin replied with the Scandinavian defence. The middle game was better for Udupa. But, Ashvin defended calmly and did not allow Udupa to attack. On 36th move, both agreed for draw. On third board, Swapnil Shah played with white pieces against Soundarya Kumar Pradhan. The latter did not want to take risk and offered draw very early. Both agreed on 22nd move to call it quits.

At the prize distribution function held later, Dr Rajgopal Shenoy, vice president of United Karnataka Chess Association, read out a letter from Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi wishing the tournament and the players well, while congratulating Manipal University for hosting the Asian Chess Championship for the visually challenged. Adani-owned Udupi Power Corporation Limited, which is operating a power plant at Yellur, had joined hands with Manipal University by way of sponsoring the event to a tune of Rs 12 lakh for ongoing Asian Chess Championship for Visually Impaired and recently held Marathon Event – Run for Stroke Free World.

The Asia Pacific Chess Championship for the visually challenged is one of the biggest International Chess events for the visually challenged and being represented by 25 countries of the Asia Pacific region. 

Final Standings
Kishan Gangolli (Ind) 7, Makwana Ashvin K (IND) 6, Soundarya Kumar Pradhan (Ind) 6, Aryan B Joshi (Ind) 5, Swapanil Shah (Ind) 5, Krishna Udupa (Ind) 5, Husain Ejaz (Ban) 5, Marimuthu K  (Ind) 5, Somender B L (Ind) 4½, Samant Milind (Ind) 4½, Sarkar Bappi (Ban) 4½, Yudhajeet De (Ind) 4, Patil Shirish (Ind) 4, Prachurya Kumar Pradhan (Ind) 4, Waghmare Sachin Lahu (Ind) 3½. Mrunali Pande F (Ind) 3½, Jose Antonio M Maraguinot (Phi) 3½, Rodolfo D Sarmiento (Phi) 3, Vaishali Nrendra Salavkar F (Ind) 3, Tuan Rushdi (Sri) 2, Liyana Arachchilage UpulIndrajith (Sri) 1, Hiriyamulla Vithange Sanjeewa Karunarathna (Sri) 0 and Arthur M Letim (Phi) 0.

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