Yehuda Gruenfeld leads Israel's Euro chess debut

Check this out. Israeli chess champion Yehuda Gruenfeld hopes to be in Liverpool next month, captaining the national team at the European Chess Cup for the Deaf.

Mr Gruenfeld, 55, is ranked number one in the world by the International Committee of Silent Chess (ICSC), the global governing body for the deaf and hard of hearing chess. It will be the first time that Israel has taken part in the competition. This year's contest takes place between June 8 – 13 and the team would welcome any assistance from the UK. Mr Gruenfeld has been playing chess since the age of five - he was Israel's Junior Chess Champion in 1974. He tells People that it gives him "peace of mind and is a challenge in life for a person who has a hearing loss."

What is the difference between deaf chess and regular chess? "There is no big difference," he says. "Deaf players can play regular tournaments too. I have played all my life in standard format. An advantage of deaf chess is the opportunity to connect with other people with similar needs, conditions and create better communication."

Planning to bring the team to the UK is Rafael Pinchas, chairman and president of the Israel Deaf Chess Council and secretary general of the ICSC. Mr Gruenfeld says: "My point with this championship is to put the team on the map." He is no stranger to competing having represented Israel in several Chess Olympiads and is twice a national champion of among the hearing, in 1982 and 1990.

Last year, he played on the first board for the ICSC World All Star Team, which finished 48th out of 149 places.

    Last updated: 11:09am, May 26 2011