Shashikant Kutwal (C) with the World Championship trophy in Slovakia. (Hindustan Time).
Pune’s Shashikant Kutwal won the 17th IPCA World Individual Chess Championship in Slovakia on Tuesday. The 37-year-old also became an International Master (IM). He competed it in a combined group with men and women becoming the highest scorer, with 7.5 points from a possible nine.
The event attracted 40 physically challenged players from several countries. Kutwal garnered 7.5 point from possible nine, after winning seven rounds and drawing one and losing one. He competed it in a combined group with men and women becoming the highest scorer along with Israel’s IM Gurbanov Andrei who also gained 7.5 points. However, higher buchcholz score helped Kutwal to win the title.
The triumph was more special for the 37-year-old as he also became an International Master (IM). The new IM title would allowed him direct entry into many National events. “He already had four IM norms in his kitty, but was short of required rating score of 2400. This win helped him to gain the title,” said Joseph D’souza, chairman of Pune District Chess Association (PDCA) and also the previous coach of Kutwal.
After winning three state titles in the open category, Kutwal won gold medal in the All India University Chess Championship held in Pilani, Rajasthan in 1999. Later he qualified for National A, with a good performance in the National B. “Initially he was reluctant to participate in the tournaments for disabled. With a polio affected leg, he wasn’t having any major issues in playing in the open category,” said D’souza.
Kutwal, who was a resident of Supe, Baramti, shifted his base to Pune to get trained with D’souza. Later he shifted to Mumbai to work for Indian Railways and then started his coaching class and has produced several talented players. A few years back, he again focussed on his own game and started participating in the disabled tournament. His biggest achievement came last year, when he was placed second in the 16th IPCA World Individual Chess Championship 2016 for physically disabled chess players in Novi Sad, Serbia.