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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An inspiring chess story of a champion!

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

We found this inspiring article about a visually challenged chess player from India. She is a woman who braved several odds to do well in life. Indeed, chess is inspiring. If you have a similar story to share, do send it to us. Don't forget to spread the cheer of chess yourself too.

Sportsperson crosses all hurdles with ‘I can’ spirit
By Shabana Ansari | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
You can read another article on this player here.
Vaishali Salavkar wears several hats with ease — chess champion, half-marathon runner and professional masseuse. And between all this, she has managed to find time to raise a 12-year-old daughter.

That Vaishali is partially visually challenged is one of the many things that makes her an inspiration for many.

She recently won her sixth national blind chess title and now plans to take advanced coaching so that she can play against sighted opponents. "A few months training and I am sure I can do it," she says.

It is this ‘’I Can" spirit that has egged her on to achieve commendable personal and professional goals.

Vaishali has a skin condition called albinism which makes her melanin-deficient and partially sighted. "I can’t see anything from my right eye and the left can only make out shapes, not faces, unless they are really close," she adds.

Growing up in a society which is not necessarily sensitive to the needs of the differently-abled, Vaishali struggled for years to fit in. One of the teachers at her school saw a spark in Vaishali and taught her to play chess as an extracurricular activity. "I beat him at a game and there has been no looking back since," she says.

The 40-year-old loves to jog and has also participated in the 7km Dream Run and the 21km half marathon a couple of times along with her husband Narendra and other members of the National Association of the Blind.

"A lot of physically challenged people take up activities that are perceived to be difficult or beyond their reach. For me, the loud cheers and encouragement from the viewers and fellow participants are exhilarating," Vaishali says.

She and her husband keep fit by brisk walking and light jogging. The couple is helped in their regime by their daughter Tanvi. "When Tanvi was born, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be able to take care of her or whether sightless parents can bring up a well-adjusted child," she says.

And when Vaishali started playing chess in 1999, she was worried whether she would be able to juggle her job and parenthood with her passion for the game. "But I have managed to do all that is important to me with sheer determination on my part and a lot of help from my husband," she adds.

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