Creators of chess for blind people awarded first prize

photos - private archives of Mateusz Chmiel

photo by Jakub Dąbrowski

The creators of chess for blind and visually impaired people – students Mateusz Chmiel of the Faculty of Foundry Engineering and Wojciech Burzyński of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics – won first prize in the competition CSR Masters for a pro-social project. This original idea polled nearly 15,000 votes of Internet users.  

The project takes advantage of the latest technologies, thanks to which it stands out from the other types of chess for blind people that are already available on the market. The traditional ones have pieces with pins (pegs), which are placed on a chessboard with lowered squares and holes. The AGH UST students are working on an electronic chessboard, which will eliminate the difficulty of moving the pieces around the board. A classic design of the chessboard will be possible thanks to a magnetic system of attaching the pieces. The pieces have been designed and made on a 3D printer in such a way that blind people can easily recognise them on the chessboard. But the above examples do not exhaust the list of all the features planned by the constructors of this exceptional type of chess. The main technological change is a sound system that informs the opponent of a move, thanks to which the players can hear what has changed on the chessboard. 

The financial prize won in the competition will enable Mateusz Chmiel and Wojciech Burzyński to continue their work on the project. The pieces have already been made, but the students are still working on the chessboard and the electronic system in the virtual version. Thanks to taking part in the competition, the young constructors have gained valuable experience in planning and managing the project.

The ceremony of presenting prizes to the winners of CSR Masters took place on 9th March 2017 in the headquarters of the competition organiser – Henkel Polska – in Warsaw. The prize was presented by Janusz Gołębiowski, President of the Board and Chief Financial Officer, at the presence of HR Director and Director for Corporate Communication. The laureates received PLN 5,000 for carrying out the project, as well as commemorative certificates and gifts. There was also a meeting to talk about the honoured projects and to discuss corporate social responsibility.  

The Polish national competition CSR Masters was aimed at the students of Polish universities. The competitors’ task was to prepare their own independent projects concerning one of the following two categories: pro-social activities, education and culture, or environmental and health-oriented activities. From all of the received ideas, the competition jury chose the best three projects in each category. The winners were chosen by Internet users in two-week long online voting.