Monday, October 26, 2009

Chess and Disabled People

A few days ago I had an interesting chat with the Brookbanks branch head when I visited that library after school. I was told that the provincial government has passed a new policy for public volunteers. The policy is that these volunteers must take a course that involves in recognizing and dealing with disabled people. It's a very short course, about an hour in length, but everyone must take it in order to volunteer in public places. We haven't yet decided the exact date that we will take this course but I know it's definitely going to happen very soon. Once the date has been decided, I will let the rest of my team know.

Chess is actually an excellent sport for these disabled people. People say that chess is a sport or it is an art, and of course I agree with both of those. However, I look at chess as an universal communication language. That's why all different kinds of people can play chess together. People won't need to be able to speak the same language and by playing this game, they have already communicated more than you can imagine. Same with disabled people.

I've played in many international tournaments around the world and I've seen sights that are really touching. There was one in particular, that I will remember forever. It was a couple of years ago, 2005 I think, when I played in the National Open in Las Vegas. There was this kid (around my age back then) playing in the tournament who was sitting on a wheelchair with numerous tubes connected to his nose and mouth that would allowed him to breath. It was difficult for him to look down at the board as his head was in a fixed position. His mother would sit beside him every round and record the moves. The kid would then say his move to his mother in an extremely quite voice. He definitely had a hard time speaking as well. From what it looked like, this kid didn't have much time left in his life. That is how much chess means to him. Regardless of his condition, this kid would still come to the tournament site and play every single round. It was truly an amazing sight to watch. For most of us, we should all be grateful that we are healthy and have the opportunity to try so many different things. We definitely shouldn't let this opportunity go to waste.

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