Comedian Samay Raina who believes that a small effort could make a big difference, says, even though online games have become quite popular under the lockdown, a game of chess still can’t be played by everyone. “In a room full of ten people, none might know how to play chess,” he says. Therefore, Raina decided to bring together professional chess players to play with other stand-up comedians virtually, and the money raised from this tournament has been helping the marginalized.
“As every other sport continues to suffer amid the Covid-19 pandemic, chess is one of the sports that has the ability to gain a lot of traction with online events and tournaments taking place. I have always liked the game and I wanted to do something around it. I got a good response from some of the big names in the game. They thought it was a good idea to organise an online chess event between comedians and them to raise money for those who are in need,” adds Raina.
Former chess world champion Viswanathan Anand along with Indian cricketer Yuvzendra Chahal, Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi, Grandmaster Nihal Sarin, Grandmaster Tania Sachdev, Croatia’s Antonio Radic and stand-up comedians Biswa Kalyan Rath, Samay Raina, Abhishek Upamanyu and Aakash Mehta took part in this online chess charity event. They were able to raise Rs 8.86 lakh for the waste-picker community. The funds raised also provided the community with safety kits.
“At an uncertain time like this when most assumptions are under question, we turn towards art and our favourite artists, who are also self isolating like discombobulated fans around the world. The fundraisers we have been part of are our ability to come together as a community in moments of crisis and extend a hand to those that are the ‘last in the line’,” says Gunjan Arya, one of the organisers of the fund raiser.
“So many people contributed. Even a mere 40rupees meant a lot. Even the smallest initiatives lead to bigger changes. I am still overwhelmed by it,” says Raina, who wants to stream more online chess charity events.