Chinese chess (Xiangqi) is centuries old; some historians date the game back 
to 400 BC.  All this time, blind and other visually disabled persons have 
been unable to participate in one of China's most popular games.
But last year, design professor Michael Siu, of Hong Kong Polytechnical 
University (PolyU), created a Chinese chess set  for blind persons and 
others with varying levels of visual impairments.  The set, which can now be 
played with sighted persons as well as other visually impaired persons, has 
won international invention awards.  But most importantly, Siu's invention 
has opened up a national sport to millions of vision impaired persons that 
allows them to be included in a very popular national game.

Last month the new  chess set won the Grand Award and Gold Medal at the 36th 
International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products in 
Geneva.  It has also won other international awards in the UK and Malaysia. 
Here is why:

According to Professor Siu, "the chess set can help visually impaired people 
distinguish different chess pieces, including the different colours of 
pieces; search, read, locate, move and pick up pieces; read pieces from 
different directions without any confusion; realize the whole setting of the 
chess game; and learn and become familiar with the game easily.  More 
importantly, the newly invented international tactile information overcomes 
the perplexing variations of existing Braille systems based on the 
pronunciation of dialects."

Late last week, the manufacturer of the Chinese chess set for visually 
impaired persons, Bunhoi Group, donated 1,000 sets to the China 
Administration of Sports for Persons with Disabilities and the China 
Association of the Blind.   The donation is to promote interplay between 
sighted persons and low-visioned and blind persons.  This year, it is 
hopeful that visually disabled persons will participate in provincial chess 
competitions for the blind and, by next year, that they will join in the 
national chess competition.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design via see Chinese 
Chess at Wiki

Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
"I would ratyher walk in the dark with Jesus than to walk in the light on my 
own." Wayne Watson 

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