Chennai: The 14th IBCA Chess Olympiad for the Blind will be held here Aug 9-19. It will be the first time Asia will host the event.
After the successful conduct of the 11th Individual World Chess Championship for the Blind 2006 in Goa, the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) Congress awarded this event to India unanimously.
The last edition at Heraklion in Greece saw a total of 164 players from 34 countries take part.
The traditional powerhouse of chess, Russia, took the gold with Ukraine and Spain clinching the silver and bronze medals.
World champion Viswanathan Anand has been a morale booster to the Indian blind team. Anand's positive initiative helped the Indian team to take part in the IBCA Chess Olympiad in Greece.
Charudatta Jadhav, general secretary of AICFB, said Friday: "Anand's support gives me huge motivation and inner strength to initiate ambitious programmes to take chess for the blind at next level in spite of several adversities."
Impressed by the blind team's work, Anand said: "I have interacted with many visually challenged players and I can say honestly that these players have a special talent.
"I am really happy to see them so motivated. What has struck me is their love for chess. I have found that they are preparing intensely for the championship and are not shying away from hard work.
"I think they are quite motivated and feel deep down that they will be successful."
Anand thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalaithaa for extending support to the team.
"The blind chess player from Chennai, Srikrishna, could take part in the world blind event in Greece, thanks to the timely support of the chief minister of Tamil Nadu."
Thirtyone countries have confirmed their participation, including 25 International Masters, five International Woman Masters and 120 FIDE rated players.
The championship will be a team event, comprising nine rounds and a match between two teams will be played on four boards. Each team will field a maximum of five players, the fifth player being the reserve.
In addition to the gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three ranked teams, similar medals are at stake for the best three individuals on each of the five boards.
International Arbiter R. Anantharam, the only A grade International Arbiter in India, is the chief arbiter of the tournament.