Online blitz event raises nearly ₹2.40 lakh for PM Cares fund

“Let’s Fight Corona Together”, an online blitz chess event attracted 180 players including 17 GMs, with India No. 2 Vidit Gujrathi being the top seed.

India No. 2 Vidit Gujrathi playing online chess while helping raise over Rs. 37,000 in just two hours by live streaming his games during the "Let's Fight Corona Together" online blitz event on Thursday.   -  PHOTO COURTESY: CHESSBASE INDIA

The online-friendly nature of chess played its part perfectly as Chessbase India organised a one-day event that helped raise ₹2,39,742 towards PM-CARES fund.

Titled, “Let’s Fight Corona Together”, this online blitz chess event attracted 180 players including 17 GMs, with India No. 2 Vidit Gujrathi being the top seed.

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For the record, Kerala’s rising star Nihal Sarin won the title, ahead of Aravindh Chithambaram and Vidit.

The trio tallied eight points each from nine rounds but Nihal was adjudged champion on superior tie-break score. There was no entry fee, but each participant was expected to donate a minimum of ₹100 and a maximum of whatever he/she was comfortable with.

Live streaming

Interestingly, Vidit also did live streaming of his games that raised ₹37,028 in two hours. Out of this, a donation of ₹25,000 came from a generous Coimbatore-based chess lover, C. Vinith.

Among players, notable was the contribution of 16-year-old GM Arjun Erigasi who gave ₹25,000 a day before the event.

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Seasoned GMs Dibyendu Barua, K. Sasikiran and Neelotpal Das contributed ₹20,000 each.

Nihal, the eventual champion who was a last-minute entry, pitched in with ₹7,500. GMs Magesh Chandran, Arun Prasad, M.S. Thej Kumar, N. Srinath and Ankit Rajpara contributed ₹5,000 each.

GM R.R. Laxman not only chipped in with ₹4,500, but also encouraged many to play the event. GM Diptayan Ghosh donated ₹3,000.

Interestingly, Sasikiran, Arun and Thej were among those who contributed without playing the fund-raiser. Likewise, the trio of S. Vijayalakshmi, Sriram Jha and S. Meenakshi donated ₹7,000.

Unknown contributor

Shiv Shome, 13, chose to shell out ₹2,500 while an unknown contributor, who did not play, donated ₹10,000.

IM Sagar Shah and FIDE instructor Niklesh Jain are holding online classes since the beginning of the lockdown to raise funds.

Shah, also the Co-founder and CEO of Chessbase India, revealed, “we have raised an additional ₹ 74,179 in the last 16 days of lockdown through online classes. More importantly every day close to 500 people learn chess live.”

Reflecting on the reasons behind the success of the fund-raising event, Shah said, “Our top players not only donated money, but also their time to raise awareness about the Coronavirus issue. I believe chess, as a sport, teaches you many good qualities like concentration, decision-making and analytical skills. But now I feel it also teaches you to be kind, empathetic and be socially responsible. We have added reasons to be proud of our sport and the entire chess community!”

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