Chess Kerala's Checkmate COVID-19 international online blitz tournament has attracted entries from 428 players from all around the world.
The event will raise money for the Chief Minister's Distress Relief fund (CMDRF).
British chess legend and FIDE vice-president Nigel Short, Alexander Donchenko, Alan Pichot, Elshan Moradiabadi, Jakhongir Vokhidov, Bilel Bellahcene, Arvindh Chithambaram, Nihal Sarin, S.L. Narayanan and Jose Martinez Alcantra are among the 32 GMs who will be taking part in the 10 round Swiss event on Saturday night.
"It is a small move, really, but glad to be of help in the fight against Covid-19 in Kerala" tweeted Nigel Short. Judit Polgar, on her Instagram page, said she was fortunate to be in Kerala a few months before the coronavirus outbreak. She congratulated the players who agreed to participate for the noble cause.
So far, the tournament has raised ₹3,88,316 as donations from players and well-wishers.
K.K. Praveen Kumar, a veteran chess player from Kerala, made the biggest contribution by donating ₹70,000. GM K. Sasikiran and G.N. Gopal donated ₹15,000 and ₹4,000. But they will not be participating in the tournament.
“The response from the chess fraternity form both India and outside has been tremendous. We personally requested leading players from India to take part in the tournament. But we never expected such a big turnout. There are 32 GMs and 31 IMs taking part in the tournament.
“Chess Kerala is also indebted to IM V. Saravanan who took the initiative to organise the tournament. Saravanan contacted Viswanathan Anand who put up a video promoting the tournament. There are players from 16 countries. We collected nearly ₹3.90 lakhs. We will be donating the money to CMDRF within a few days,” said N. R. Anilkumar the president of Chess Kerala.
The tournament carries a total prize money of ₹52,000 with a first prize of ₹12,000.
The event is sponsored by Chess Houseboat Kerala.
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