Kerala chess players mobilize to put down COVID-19
Chess Kerala Holds Online Tournaments To Raise Money For The State’s COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign
In a winning move, Chess Kerala, a collective of players from Kerala, are now hosting the 2021 Chess Kerala COVID Vaccine Challenge Grand Prix tournaments, a series to raise funds for the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMDRF) to help the campaign. of vaccines in the state.
âAgeless players around the world can participate in eight online tournaments that will be held every Sunday evening at 8 pm. The first took place on May 23. Participants and non-participants are urged to contribute at least the cost of one COVID-19 vaccine (â¹ 300) or its multiples, to help Kerala fight the pandemic, âsaid NR Anil Kumar, President of the organization and former member of the Indian Olympic chess team and international master.
So far, 100 Indian and foreign players have confirmed their participation and â¹ 1.5 lakh has been collected. The tournament is hosted on Lichess.org, a free online chess portal.
Along with the fundraising tournament, Chess Kerala is also organizing a Women’s Grand Prix for players from Kerala. âWomen’s failures have been marginalized. We have decided to organize a series of tournaments on behalf of former state champions. The oldest is Sreedevi Varma who was the champion in 1974. Then there is the six-time state champion Sethu Varma, as well as PV Lalitha and Vasanthi Unni â, explains Preetha KS, member of the Chess Kerala committee in charge of the advertising. Since many women were participating in a tournament for the first time, two chess books were sent to them to perfect their moves.
A 23-member committee, including women, runs the online tournament series every Saturday. Three hundred players from all over the world participate. The mega-final is in the name of Koneru Humpy, the current world champion in women’s rapid, and the super final in the name of chess legend Judith Polgar.
This is not the first time that the organization has turned to gambling to help the state fight the pandemic. Last year, during the first lockdown in March 2020, Chess Kerala hosted the Checkmate COVID-19 international online blitz tournament on May 2, 2020. Three hundred and fifty players from 16 countries had registered for this tournament.
Many Grandmasters and International Masters like Viswanathan Anand, K Sasikiran, Nihal Sarin, SL Narayanan and others supported the event. Viswanthan Anand had tweeted about the event and sent a video message in support of it. Her tweet was re-tweeted by Judith Polgar, who also shared a video post.
Tara Devi Sunilkumar, member of the association’s executive committee, says the players, their parents, friends and supporters raised 4,55,000 which was donated to the CMDRF last year. There was no registration fee but each player had to pay at least 250.
Prior to that, Chess Kerala had organized the Chess Kerala Grand Prix series to raise funds to help chess players and coaches in distress in April 2020. Anil says the event raised 90,000. âWe were able to purchase a laptop computer for seven-time state champion OT Anil Kumar to help him teach online and make a living. In Idukki, we bought a desktop computer for KM Rajan, who is physically challenged. Many of them were working as coaches and trainers and our intention was to help them in any way we could, âsays Anil.
Likewise, they raised funds during the 2018 flood by organizing tournaments and raised 1,38,500 for the CMDRF.
Meanwhile, to keep chess players motivated during the lockdown, 14 tournaments have been held, with each tournament being in the name of brilliant old chess players, chess champions and organizers. âWe wanted to introduce them to a new generation of players. We have produced videos, articles and organized tournaments on their behalf, âsays Anil.
It takes a village
Formed four years ago, Chess Kerala aims to help players, coaches and former players and encourage the game. Independent non-profit organization, its members are players, parents of children playing chess and tournament organizers in Kerala. She actively organizes events, training camps for children and chess seminars.
Anil points out that unlike many sports organizations in India, every member of Chess Kerala has the right to vote and is not just pawns in the organization.
The organization has introduced a number of innovative events to popularize the old board game. âSeven of us, friends and passionate chess players, have an informal group, Oriental Chess Moves. I had traveled aboard the Chess Train, a tourist event in Prague, where chess players have the chance to see the Czech Republic and play chess. I got the idea for Chess Houseboat 2020 and took it up with Kerala State Tourism Development Corporation. A group of us traveled from Alappuzha to Thrissur, enjoyed the view and also played chess, âhe explains.