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Holger Mende
First move of the WCCD 2015
Drawing of lots

4th FIDE World Chess Championships for People with Disabilities

Thomas Luther: chess is the only inclusive sport

 

thomasThomas Luther - one of the main driving forces promoting chess for disabled - joined us for a short talk during the first round of the World Chess Championship for Disabled in Dresden.

UV: The first few games of the first round of the Second World Chess Championship for the disabled are already over and we finally managed to get hold of Thomas Luther. He is the Chairman of the Committee for Chess for the Disabled. Welcome, Thomas. Thanks for your time. You are a chess player yourself, so how did you end up getting involved in organising tournaments like this?

TL: Yes, I have played chess myself for many years. I have also represented Germany on a few occasions in the National Team at the Chess Olypmiad. But as a player your career is quite limited so a few years ago I decided to get involved with organising and representing chess. My personal situations has led me to be fighting for inclusion for people with disabilities.

UV: As the title suggests this is already the second time that this tournament takes place here in Dresden. How did all of this come along?

TL: The starting point for the whole thing was the Olympiad here in Dresden in 2008. We then asked the question why there are no Paralympic Games within Chess. Chess is not part of the Paralympics and there is no separate tournament so we have taken this as an inspiration to develop a tournament like this here in Dresden. So we had a first event in 2011. After going through a bit of paperwork with the World Chess Federation FIDE we then were able to hold the 1st World Chess Championship for the Disabled in 2013 and now we are already holding the second one.

UV: That is great! So has something changed for players with disabilites in the last 4 years since the start of this event?

TL: Yes, we do all learn from those experiences. If you visit the tournament you can see that there are the a few issues and challenges but we are solving all problems and gain more experience. Also the regulations have been amended accordingly as it is inevitable that people with disabilites are faced with problems and require assitance and we are here to ensure that they have the help they need. We are flying the flag for inclusion and want to make sure that this happens as chess is in my opinion the only really inclusive sport.

UV: This message is coming across quite clearly that everybody can play chess whether able bodied or not.

TL: Yes, it is important for us to bring this across. There is no physical display of strenght but a mental battle and everybody deserves the chance. This is important not only to us but also the players. This event is an important part of their planning of their year.

UV: They will also receive a recognition that is difficult for them to receive anywhere else.

TL: Us people always define ourselfes about what we are doing and what success we have. Therefore such a tournament is an incredible boost for the players, especially playing in a World Championship.

UV: It is great that all of this is going so well and good luck with the rest of the tournament and hopefully we will be seeing further editions in the future.