Chess helps to transform lives of people with disabilities
The tournament of the Confederation Cup for disabled people, organized by the International Chess Federation or FIDE, has been an important step to make chess more popular among disabled people worldwide.
Turkey became the first host country of the tournament, as 30 international disabled chess players from four continents came to Turkey for the event.
The six-day event by FIDE with the support of Russian State Atomic Energy Cooperation (ROSATOM) started on Dec. 9.
The tournament features chess players from 24 countries, including ones who are physically disabled, visually impaired, and hearing impaired.
Gülkız Tülay, head of the Turkish Chess Federation, highlighted the importance of this event for disabled people.
“We believe that there is no barrier to everyone playing chess. Chess is one of the most successful competitive events in Turkey for people who are disabled,” she said.
FIDE Vice President Akaki Iashvili praised the host Turkish federation for its organizational skills that made it possible to bring together players from 24 different countries in a short notice.
He also noted that chess for players with disabilities is becoming one of the priorities for FIDE.
Handenur Şahin, 22, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy, has become one of Turkey’s most successful chess players. She has been playing chess for 12 years.
In addition to her professional chess career, Şahin also studies political science at Galatasaray University.
“Chess makes the life more colorful. I started to play when I was in fourth grade. My life has changed, and I have proved myself with this sport. I was fifth in the rankings at Europe when I was only 17.”
Campos Eugenio, 44, came to the tournament in Turkey from the Central African country of Angola.
To date he has scored some achievements in chess, winning titles in his home country.
“Chess is an activity that creates equality among people. We sit at the same table to play chess. It’s important to get people closer each other through chess. Chess is a chance to fight discrimination,” he said.