Daroan Inani is the strongest Indian chess player as he recently crossed 2100 ELO points during the latest October rankings. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
At the age of two, he was suffering from a rare disease which affects only one or two million people. Due to a wrong medication, he was suffering from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which is a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes. It's usually a reaction to a medication or an infection. Often, it begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters. He was in so much pain that when he cried, his tears would dry out. For two months, he was battling between life and death. He recovered but at a high price. His eyesight was lost forever. Even his food pipe shrunk, making it difficult to eat.
However, he did not give up hope. He resorted to getting his life back on track. He resorted to chess. After learning the complexities of the game, he achieved success in the 2010 National Blind Championship at the age of 16. In 2013, he secured the bronze medal in the World Junior Championship in Belgrade. This is the story of Darpan Inani from Gujarat. Now, there is one more feather in his cap. According to the latest FIDE rankings, Inani has now crossed 2100 ELO points, making him the strongest blind chess player not just in India but in Asia.
The ranking and achievement is a tribute to the struggles that the Gujarat player has had to undergo ever since his birth. Inani was the subject of an advertisement at the start of the year which made many people in India aware about his struggles. In that advertisement, it was shown how Inani's life had to overcome so many struggles. After being diagnosed with blindness, his family had to undergo tremendous struggles to ensure he got a normal school life. His father stood by him at tough times. Inani wanted to master Karate but he could not do it. However, his father planned it out and brought him a chess board.
Inani played with his mother and father but he struggled to grasp the game. Sometimes, out of frustration, he would not want to play. However, he mastered the game on his own and over time, he mastered it. The end of the advertisement shows him winning the Creon Chess Championship in 2018 which was held in France. He had won a rating category prize in a tournament which featured normal visioned players abroad. Previously, he had won championships in India.
His ranking might not be up there with the top players in the world. An ELO rating of 2100 does not put him even in the top 100 of the best Grandmasters in the world. It is more than 400 points behind Tazbir Marcin of Poland, who is currently the only blind chess Grand Master in the world. But, when one looks at his success and the odds that he has had to fight in reaching the summit, Inani is already a winner.