A series of simultaneous online exhibition matches featuring, among others, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand to support COVID relief in India raised USD 50,000 (approximately INR 37 lakh). The event was held on Chess.com with top Indian players and proceeds would go to Red Cross India and the Checkmate COVID initiative of the All India Chess Federation (AICF), officials of Chess.com said.
On Thursday, Grandmaster Anand, as well as GMs Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli, Nihal Sarin, and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu played simultaneous games on Chess.com against a total of 105 players. Any player with a Chess.com blitz or FIDE standard rating of under 2000 could play with former world champion Anand by donating USD 150 and with the other four GMs by paying USD 25 as registration amount.
The time control for the games was 30 minutes with a 30-second increment, with the grandmasters having 15 extra minutes on their clock. The GMs won with high scores but only Praggnanandhaa managed to win all of his games. “We are facing a kind of national struggle. It varies from state to state but it’s extremely critical right now. I hope this will be a resource for the chess community. Some of us have had Covid and now hopefully they at least have someone to call and reach out," Anand was quoted as saying by chess.com.
India is currently reeling under a devastating second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with more than three lakh fresh cases and over 3,000 deaths being reported daily.