Why Asian blind chess champion Kishan Gangolli is contemplating to quit the game

Updated: Feb 08, 2018, 15:05 IST | Subodh Mayure

Despite picking up numerous accolades, current Asian blind chess champion Kishan Gangolli is contemplating quitting the game to seek employment

Chess genius Kishan Gangolli is a four-time National champion and has 1996 international rating points
Chess genius Kishan Gangolli is a four-time National champion and has 1996 international rating points

Four-time national blind chess champion Kishan Gangolli, 26, sees no light at the end of his problem-filled tunnel en route a sporting journey that has seen him pick up numerous accolades. The Shimoga resident, current Asian champion and the only Indian to win two consecutive medals at a chess Olympiad, is not in a sound financial position as he has no job, and is contemplating quitting the game to focus on competitive examinations to seek employment.

'Very demotivating'
"The last year has been very demotivating. I approached the Karnataka state government for a job and even for awards, but got no response. I even tried for a job in public sector companies, but the problem is that blind chess is not recognised anywhere.

"Now, I have no option but to quit the game. I have an elderly mother to look after. She works as a beautician and that's the only source of income in our family," Gangolli, who has 1996 international rating points and is currently plying his trade at the 13th National 'A' chess championships for the blind in the city, told mid-day yesterday. He is leading the table with six points after seven rounds. Gangolli has not only achieved laurels in blind chess, he has also competed with sighted players, and won several Karnataka State open rapid chess tournaments.

He has won two silver medals at the National School Games too, where again he was pitted against sighted players. He has also led the Karnataka U-19 team and the Kuvempu University teams, both of which included sighted players. "While I am happy that the Indian government is recognising all paralympic sports and blind cricket too, it's unfortunate that blind chess is not appreciated. We are actually competing and beating sighted players," said Gangolli, a second-ranked MA in Economics.

He now wants to focus on the UPSC examinations to get a good job in the civil services sector. "I cannot afford to play more tournaments as I come from a poor family. If there is no income, why should I play chess? "The All India Chess Federation recognises our parent body, the Blind Chess Association, but the government of India doesn't."

Chess, my first love
"I request our sport minister, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who is an Olympic medal-winner himself (at the 2004 Athens Games), to recognise and appreciate blind chess. I'm not quitting the game because I want to. I'm doing so because I'm forced to. Chess is still my first love but it cannot feed me or my family."

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