In a kind gesture, Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand is giving financial support to the Indian team in their preparation for the World Blind Chess Championship to be held in Belgrade, Serbia from August 26 to September 4.
Charudatta Jadhav, General Secretary of the All India Chess Federation for the Blind, said Anand has been taking keen interest for the development of visually impaired chess players in the country and this was the first time he has lent financial and psychological support to them.
"I don't want to disclose how much amount he has given to us for the preparation of the players for the World Championships but he has been taking keen interest for their welfare for some time. It is a kind gesture from him," Jadhav said from Mumbai.
"Anand has also pledged more support in future. He is particularly keen on introducing technology among the visually impaired chess players. He felt the players are lacking in the preparations," he said.
The Indian team comprises 16-year-old Darpan Inani from Gujarat, national blind champion Srikrishna Udupa from Karnataka, winner of gold medal in 13th Chess Olympiad for the Blind 2008 Ashwin Makwana from Gujrat and Rajesh Oza from Maharashtra.
All four players had qualified for the world event after securing top four places at National A Chess Championship for the Blind held in Mumbai in April.
"Anand who has followed the exploits of our players has come forward with both monetary and technical help. He has personally helped Darpan," said the general secretary of the Federation, Charudatta Jadhav.
"I am very proud to see these players go for the World Championships. It has been a very difficult task for them to get ready for the event. I have seen the kind of dedication and also in training for the event and I hope people will come forward to offer support and sponsorship for the talented visually impaired players," Anand said in an AICFB release.
"We have a strong team this time and we are expecting good results," said Jadhav who is accompanying the team.