When chess met cricket, cinema and music

Viswanathan Anand and an impressive line-up of celebrities from cinema, cricket, music and business featured in a unique COVID-19 fund-raiser event on Sunday evening.

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand during an interactive session in Hyderabad on December 15, 2019.   -  The Hindu

Viswanathan Anand could have waited for his opponent Nikhil Kamath to lose on time, though from a completely winning position. But the genial genius from Chennai didn’t. He resigned, though his rival had only seconds left.

That was one of the memorable moments from a unique COVID-19 fund-raiser event on Sunday evening featuring Anand and an impressive line-up of celebrities from cinema, cricket, music and business. The event conducted by chess.com raised more than Rs. 6.7 lakh, most of which will go to the Akshaya Patra Foundation.

Nikhil’s victory was indeed very much the talking point. The founder of Zerodha, India’s largest retail stockbroker, Nikhil used to play chess in his school days.

He wasn’t the only one that managed to stretch Anand though. Bollywood producer Sajid Nadiadwala played some solid chess before erring in a rook ending.

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Kannada actor Sudeep also came up with some fine moves. Anand did win those games though. He had it easier against Indian cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal, much easier than he would have hoped, as the wrist-spinner is a former national age-group champion.

Superstar Aamir Khan put up a good fight, despite getting into an inferior position early on. After his loss, Aamir regaled the viewers with anecdotes about his encounters with chess players, including a little girl who thrashed him during the shoot of his Oscar-nominated movie Lagaan.

Anand’s other opponents of the evening were actor Riteish Deshmukh, singers Arijit Singh and Ananya Birla and Manu Kumar Jain, global vice president, Xiaomi. The programme ended on a musical note with Arijit singing one of his hits.

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