World Junior Championship for Disabled Begins in Florida

FLORIDA (USA) - The FIDE World Junior Chess Championship began on June 23rd, 2017 at the Park Inn by Radisson in Kissimmee, Florida. The opening ceremony began with an introduction of all the players representing seven countries. After an inspirational rendition of the United States National Anthem, FIDE Vice President Beatriz Marinello gave a welcoming speech emphasizing the importance of portraying chess as an all-inclusive sport and as one in which all players can compete on equal terms given the right accommodations. Marinello told US Chess, "This is an inspirational event. These kids are special in many ways, as are there parents, who make many sacrifices to get them to this point." In the first round, we witnessed an exciting game between Raphael Zimmer from Germany and Samarth Jagadish Rao from India. Raphael ultimately triumphed after a grueling three hours.
Raphael Johannes Zimmer (Germany) Photo Dora Leticia Martinez
The FIDE Chess for the Disabled Commission has recently created this tournament to support all children with any disability in one competitive event in order to bring awareness to the abilities of all. The longterm goal will be the inclusion of disabled players in other open events in all levels of competition.
Wasswa Sharif Mbaziira (Uganda), Photo Dora Leticia Martinez
Natasha Morales, Dora Leticia Martinez
Griffin McConnell (USA) Photo Dora Leticia Martinez
Jesus Adrian Barrios Chamorro (Paraguay) Photo Dora Leticia Martinez
This event does not aim to segregate players with disabilities; its aim is to build bridges that will even the playing field. Each child and young person participating in this event is an inspiration to the rest of us.  We will be sharing their stories and families’ testimonies online, and also look for information in a future issue of Chess Life Magazine. The closing ceremony, awarding the title of the World Junior Chess Champion for the Disabled as well as announcing the medalists will take place June 28th, 2017 at 5:00 PM.