KOZHIKODE: The first thing you notice about Mohammed Salih P K, a visually-challenged chess player, is his passion towards the board game and his determination to ace the indoor sport.
The 34-year-old resident, a native of Thamarassery, is quite a popular figure in the sports fraternity and among chess lovers in the state, especially after bagging a silver medal at the Asian Para Games 2018’s Men’s Team Rapid Chess event.
Salih now aims to give his best shot at the Summer Paralympics to be held in Tokyo in 2020. In an interview with Express, Salih spoke about his journey and his future plans.
“I was introduced to chess when I was around 11 years old. Back then I used to play the game only with my schoolmates. I have not received any formal training in the game,” he said.
The self-taught chess player developed a deep interest in the game and managed to take part in state-level chess tournaments.
It was during his high school years that Salih began taking it more seriously. “ I tried playing chess with people who were not visually-challenged and this allowed me to challenge myself more,” he said.
Salih won prizes at Calicut University’s inter-college championships and led the Kerala Blind Chess Team in the National Chess Championship in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Salih, who is currently pursuing his LLB at Government Law College Kozhikode, has contested in chess tournaments held in Kashmir, Punjab, Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Goa.
Entry into the Asian Games came soon after his participation in the National Chess Championship 2017 held in Haryana.
“Winning a medal in the international tournament was quite an exhilarating experience and has given me the confidence to take part in the 2020 Summer Olympics."
“Players from other countries receive government-funded training for several months. I hope we are also provided similar coaching here at least for a month, prior to the event,” he said.