Malawi Paralympics Committee adopts chess board for visually impaired athletes

Priyasha Santosh Shyrian

Malawi Paralympics Committee (MPC) has partnered a 17-year- old chess star Priyasha Santosh Shyrian to launch a chess board for the visually impaired.

MPC Vice President Joseph Galanje said they have adopted Priyasha’s chess board invention which will roll out as a pilot project in the Central Region.

“We had to partner with Priyasha as the innovation will help us run chess for the visually impaired athletes. It was observed during the launch of the pilot project that the chess board was easy to master,” he said.


Priyasha, a three time national ladies champion, said she developed the chess board as the sport is crucial.

“Chess helps develop our creative and organisational skills. Therefore, recognising that chess is a game that is predominantly dependent on cognitive thinking skills and ability of one’s mind, I believe that a limitation such as being visually impaired should not impede one’s opportunity to play chess,” said the year- 12 Bishop Mackenzie student.

Priyasha said she was excited that MPC has embraced her innovation and she encouraged more visually impaired to play the game.


“I would also like to continue working with students by teaching them how the board works and teaching them rules and principles of chess,” she said.

Priyasha said the board works through the multi-layered squares, in which black squares are higher than the white squares to understand the colour complexion on the board.

“I worked with the students to memorise most of the squares and colours on the board to help them get a better understanding of the portions. The colours or the pieces themselves are identified through a rubber band, which is placed on all black pieces,” she said.

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