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Project Checkmate: Spreading chess to the Blind and Underprivileged

Project Checkmate was started in April 2016 with a view to spread the passion for the game of chess to the underprivileged children. Classes were held in a Delhi-based Non-Government Organisation twice a week for two hours each. Close to twenty students, who were enrolled in this program were taught various methods and tools to improve their game. Chess gave them something to look forward to, and their enthusiasm to learn a new trait was infectious. The kids even had a chance to compete in the Delhi State tournament in May 2016 and there has been no looking back since.  

In October 2016, Project Checkmate expanded to further sections of society. Students at the National Association of the Blind, New Delhi have now taken up this project. A fundraiser was organised and the amount generated on the night were used to sponsor the students for the National Schools for the Blind in Maharashtra. The students were also presented with the founder's (Devanshi Rathi) book on chess in a braille format called 'Chess Notes.' Students were given training via Skype if they were unable to visit classes in person. The students then participated in the North Zone championship and some of them even qualified for the National 'B' Chess Championship for the Blind. During the National 'B' tournament one student even achieved his international FIDE Rating which is one step closer to mastery in chess. This has by far been the biggest achievement under this project. These students were also taken for the 14th edition of the Modern School, Vasant Vihar inter-school chess tournament, where they got an opportunity to compete against other school players. They also got a chance to play against an AGM in a simultaneous exhibition held at NAB in February, 2017. 

The project is looking forward to expanding further and creating superstars in the world of chess. 

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