The International Chess Federation (FIDE) and the chess world have come together to recognize the importance of chess in helping Persons with disabilities to overcome their challenges and achieve their full potential.
A milestone moment in chess history occurred on January 30, 2023, when the opening move of the first Olympiad for players with disabilities was played in the main hall of Belgrade’s Crowne Plaza hotel.
The event has attracted Over 100 players from 33 countries, making a landmark moment for the chess world as the Chess Olympiad for persons with disabilities becomes a part of the Chess Olympiad family.
‘’Chess is one of the most inclusive sports in the world, and we are proud of that. Children and, seniors, people from any background, are playing chess without any obstacles. We will continue to support this great journey”, the FIDE President said.
In chess, the ceremonial first move at the start of the tournament is a long-standing tradition, usually carried out by a high-ranking government official, FIDE President, key sponsor, or famous player.
In the opening round, the spotlight was given to those who don’t often have it, as Grandmaster Thomas Luther, head of the FIDE Commission for players with disabilities, in the presence of FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich, made the first move in the match between Venezuela and Israel.
“This is an exceptional tournament where the spotlight will be on people with disabilities. We got this idea from the Paralympic movement which is big in the news and is helping people who usually don’t get the spotlight, to show what they can do. We want to make chess part of the Paralympic Games. This is one of the ideas FIDE has and we don’t want to give up on this”, said Thomas.
“This is the first time an Olympiad for people with disabilities is being organised. When the first chess Olympiad was organised just 16 nations took part. In the last chess Olympiad in Chennai more than 180 nations took part. In the first Olympiad for the disabled, we have 23 teams and over the years the numbers will surely grow!” he added.
The tournament will be played under the Swiss System, with six rounds. The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. Default time is 15 minutes.
SOURCE: FIDE. International Chess Federation.