What got me playing chess
I’m a visually impaired Chess player. When I had normal vision I only had heard about the game of Chess. I didn’t have time to learn or to play Chess at that time. When I became visually impaired in 2013, in a rehabilitation program for blind students I saw how visually impaired people play Chess.
I was so depressed at that time because I became visually impaired. But learning and playing Chess opened my mind’s eye while my other two eyes were gradually fading away letting me in the dark. Chess was my only happiness at that time.
I learned the game fast and after few months I got the opportunity to play in the national Chess tournament for the visually impaired in 2013. I placed 2nd in that tournament. I wanted to enhance my knowledge in Chess. So I followed an online course at Hadley institute for the blind. My first Chess instructor was Bob Rythmon. After completing both courses at the Hadley institute, I got a membership in the United States Braille Chess Association.
In 2017 I represented my country in the Asia Pacific Visually Impaired Chess Championship. I also became the first visually impaired Sri Lankan Chess player to play in an international rated Chess tournament organized for the sighted players and I became the first visually impaired Sri Lankan Chess player to get FIDE International ratings.