K. Jenitha Anto is a 'Wonder Woman'. She is the only Indian to have won six World titles by securing the top spot at the 2019 IPCA World Individual Championships in the female category in Slovakia. The 32 year old was diagnosed with polio at the age of three and started competing in chess when she was ten years old. To her, chess was something that gave her a 'Will of Steel' (referred from the book of the same name that the champion was given to read by her father) as she was encouraged by her supportive father to take up the mind sport seriously. Her father runs the Chess Federation for the physically disabled in Tiruchy, where Jennitha comes from. The bright lady is also a graduate holder of a Bachelor of Commerce degree as she had aspired to become a Chartered Accountant after completing her high school education.
Coming to the 2019 edition of the IPCA Championships, Anto dominated the field by scoring 5 points out of a possible nine. Overall, she finished 19th in the combined men's and women's section. Anto has reigned in this event for four consecutive years from 2013-2017 but had to settle for a bronze in last year's edition. However, she reclaimed her former glory by securing the top spot in 2019's championship.
Anto had also won four medals in the Asian Para Olympic Games in 2018 in Jakarta and is clearly a massive inspiration for all. Despite her physical disabilities, she is able to show her determination in playing for over three hours for a single match. She has conquered many territories, and it is only to be seen where she heads off to next. We wish her the best in her future endeavours.
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Vaibhav Gautam is a nineteen year old boy from New Delhi, India with a rating of 1293 (as of July, 2019). What's special about him is that he has achieved an international rating and played in the 2019 Commonwealth Championship in the U-20 Open category despite his disability (He has cerebral palsy since birth). Our blog had a chance to interview him and ask him about his resilient attitude in life and not giving up at any cost for anything. He is supported by his father who accompanies him for the tournaments in Delhi and sits next to him during the match to write down the notations. In fact, one is absolutely stunned to see even his father's dedication towards his son's career. Although he has a shop to look after, he is always with his son whenever Vaibhav participates in any tournament. In fact, it was the father who first brought Vaibhav into the game of the sixty-four squares. (It was this kind gentleman who also agreed to give us the interview for the Checkmate blog!)
Vaibhav has been playing chess since a long time, but he competed in his first tournament at the Parsavnath Delhi International tournament in January, 2017. He achieved his rating in this first attempt itself. The Magnus Carlsen fanboy, Vaibhav looks to conquer greater heights in chess, making the Grandmaster (GM) title his goal. Despite his disability, he has not slowed down on any part and continues to train hard on the game. He is solely focusing on chess as of now and has no plans to digress from his aim to become a GM soon. We, at the Checkmate Blog and Project, wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.
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