A few months ago, Darpan Inani appeared for his Chartered Accountancy(CA) Final exams in May 2018. He was looking to make a come-back to competitive chess after a gap of one and a half years. A few months in, Darpan has done the unthinkable. He has become India's highest-rated visually challenged chess player, that too he is 100% blind. He has also achieved the record of being the only Indian blind player to have ever won an international prize at the Creon Open Chess tournament in France. He got this award after he increased 30 ELO rating points in a single tournament, improving his rating to 2015. He also played in two other events prior to this in Les Sables D'Olonne and Avione, two French towns. He increased a total of 46 ELO rating points from these three tournaments. In the midst, he also drew against strong opposition, who had a much higher rating than him.
What's remarkable about this young man isn't only about his outstanding results. It's more to do with his never say die attitude and demeanor. Darpan has always challenged himself and has achieved such a solid rating after competing in mostly sighted championships, proving that his disability is actually more of his ability. He has continued his passion for chartered accountancy but this hasn't stopped him from achieving greatness on the chess board. It shows his immaculate talent for multi-tasking, a skill that is hard to master. Moreover, Darpan has climbed the success ladder by his own hard work. He doesn't have any regular sponsor or coach but has still managed to go for these challenging events and has returned with great success.
His story is unique and exceptional and this doesn't stop him from helping others in his field. In May 2018, he also assisted Project Checkmate, an initiative to spread blind chess in India, with his inputs and advice. He created a video specifically for the project and its students, showing his compassion and gratitude towards the sport that he loves so much.
Darpan is India's next big thing. If he could achieve his dream of becoming India's first 100% visually challenged chess International Master, one can only see the country reaching higher standards in this field. All we can now wait to see is where this lad from Vadodara, Gujarat next puts his feet onto.Published 06 Aug 2018, 14:28 IST