Online chess exhibition featuring Anand raises ₹4.5 lakh for PM-CARES Fund

Six Indian Grand Masters, including the likes of Koneru Humpy and D. Harika took part in the event organised by chess.com on Sunday.

Indian Grand Master Viswanathan Anand is currently stuck in Germany due to travel restrictions.   -  Getty images

Koneru Humpy took some time to get used to it. One chessboard would pop up on her computer screen. Then another. And yet another. Nineteen of those, in fact.

It was for the first time that she was playing simultaneous chess online. By the time she finished her games late on Saturday night, she was tired.

But, she didn't mind. She enjoyed the experience and was happy to contribute to a noble cause.

Humpy and five other top Indian players – Viswanathan Anand, Vidit Gujrathi, Pendyala Harikrishna, B. Adhiban and Dronavalli Harika – took on rivals from around the world in a fund-raising event to help India fight coronavirus.

They were able to generate more than ₹4.5 lakhs towards the PMCARES fund through their games on chess.com (the participants were required to donate in order to play the Grandmasters).

“It was not easy but I am glad that I could be part of this great event,” Humpy told Sportstar. “My opponents were reasonably strong.”

READ | Chess players raise fund for fight against coronavirus pandemic

Still, she won all her games but one. “In that game too, I was in a better position before I blundered my queen,” she said.

While Humpy had logged in from her home in Vijayawada – she locked herself up in a room so that her little daughter would not disturb her – Anand played his games from an apartment in Frankfurt. The five-time World champion has been stranded in Germany since the pandemic outbreak. 

He played 21 games and won 18. Three were drawn.

Like Humpy, it was a new experience for him, too. In fact, it was the first ever online simultaneous display for all the players.

Anand admitted he was feeling exhausted. “Towards the end it was hard to work out the positions,” he said. “I am very happy and grateful to all the participants. I hope they enjoyed it.”

Gujrathi, the second strongest in the field, said he enjoyed playing against 20 players at the same time. “Except in a couple of games, I had to work hard right through,” said the World No. 23, who played from his home at Nashik.

Harikrishna made his moves from Prague, while Adhiban, the only one to win all the games, logged in from Chennai.

  Dugout videos