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100 episodes of Improving Chess with Sagar Shah and the comedians

by Sagar Shah - 25/09/2020

One of the most loved and followed chess series in the lockdown has come to an end - "Improving Chess with Comedians" by IM Sagar Shah. Four of India's well-known and celebrated stand-up comedians Samay Raina, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Vaibhav Sethia and Anirban Dasgupta were trained for 100 episodes covering all the important tactical, positional and strategic themes that an improving chess player should know. This series led to the chess improvement of not just these comedians but also of the thousands of viewers following the shows. In this article we tell you about the journey and also publish the mails from the viewers that were sent to us!

Improving Chess series comes to an end after 100 episodes!

By Sagar Shah


23rd of September marked the completion of a journey that began on 19th May 2020. I had just met Samay Raina a few days ago and he was streaming chess on his YouTube channel. A lot of people enjoyed Samay's streams and it was clear that they loved chess. But what about chess improvement? I felt that the interest of Samay and all other viewers could be sustained much better if they improved at chess. That's how the idea of "improving chess" series began! When we began we had no plans of how many streams we would do together! It was a typical case of journey being much more important than the destination!

The thumbnail of the first Improving Chess episode that was aired on 19th of May 2020

In Episode 4 Biswa Kalyan Rath joined in and Vaibhav Sethia became a part of this show from 8th episode onwards! Towards the end when Anirban joined in, he was a part of 13 out of last 15 episodes. Over 124 days we streamed 100 episodes! Vaibhav attended 59 of those, Samay 53, Biswa 39 and Anirban 13. Their love for chess and enthusiasm for the game is what kept this series going! Be it tactics, positional play, endgames, openings,  games from Comedians-on-board 2, games from India's online Olympiad, legends events, we covered it all. Not to forget the episode 57 where we raised over 5 lakh rupees in 4 hours!

The attendance of different students for the Improving Chess episodes. All four of them are busy and well-known comedians. Taking out so much time from their schedule for these sessions, showed their hunger for chess improvement.

The first 85 episodes took place at 8 a.m. in the morning and many viewers said that it not just improved their chess but also fixed their sleep cycle. Chess is all about flexibility and in trying to ensure that maximum people are able to attend the live sessions, we streamed the last 15 episodes in the afternoon! I must thank all the viewers for turning up to learn chess day after day. There were days when I really didn't feel like clicking the "Go Live" button. But the love of the viewers and their comments kept me going. I also want to thank GM Cemil, GM Ramesh, IM Eric Rosen, GM Magesh, GM Stany, IM Saravanan, GM Pravin Thipsay, IM Nisha, GM Shtembuliak for enhancing these streams with their knowledge and presence.

These people were part of different episodes and they helped the viewers by sharing their knowledge and experience

On the last day four more comedians joined in - Joel Dsouza, Abhishek Upmanyu, Sumit Sourav and Rahul Subramanian. And in this epic front benchers vs back benchers match, we had a live viewership of over 17000 people! And guess what? Team Samay, Biswa, Vaibhav and Anirban lost. I call this the most perfect end to the series because we analyzed the games and learnt from the mistakes!

The entire 100th episode was a perfect high note to end the series

Like with all good things, this one too had to come to an end. But chess improving doesn't stop here! Will be soon back with a new series of chess learning videos. Until then, thank you all. Have been overwhelmed by the love received through mails and messages. I will reproduce the mails sent to us on ChessBase India's official mail id below.

All the 100 videos (+1 extra!) can be found in the Improving Chess with comedians Playlist on ChessBase India

Feedback from the viewers:

A regular viewer of the show, Ayushi Sharma sent in a mail giving 100 reasons why she liked the Improving Chess series! Fighting cancer, Ayushi found the 100 episodes a great way to distract herself and improve her chess strength. Her special gesture of sending a mail with 100 reasons will remain a special memory of the entire series for me!


Hello hello hello everyone, welcome to this wonderful chess journey or should I say beginning, beginning of popularising Chess all over the world.`Improving chess with comedians’ The concept it self was so pure and unique  that every conman chess player no matter what the rating is got easily connected to it. The comedians showed their eager to learn, added  humour in it , took lots of hard work , compromised their sleep. Top class Guests added their valuable knowledge about chess, and The man behind success of 100 episodes ,`Sagar shah’ who not only taught us Chess but also so many life lessons , his passion and love for the chess is immense. Starting from check,captures and threats to the  Finale of Frontbenchers vs backbenchers ,we loved all the educational stuff that you have provided , and the important part is , such a high quality content is free and easily available on YouTube. We the viewers can feel that we are also a part of chess family, we can relate ourself to the chess culture of which this series is going to be a huge part. - Amit Kharat


Once again, wanted to thank and commend you for the work you've been doing. The improving chess series with comedians has been a constant part of every single evening of mine this lockdown. So much so that on the few days that episodes were skipped, my evenings felt a little bit empty. This series, Samays chess steams and learning chess is what has kept me sane this lockdown. I also used to follow your 21 day improve your openings series and the one on imbalances and found them very instructive. But this particular improving chess with comedians series was special. Not only was there a ton of chess concepts I've managed to learn but it has been incredible fun along the way. I'd often found myself laughing till my belly hurt. In my quest to get better at chess I've consumed a lot of chess content on YouTube and twitch via channels like St Louis chess club, Eric Rosen, John Bartholomew, Dan Heisman, etc. I've learnt a lot from those videos but never had as much fun as I did as part of this series. Thanks to your preparation, there were always quality lessons to learn. And thanks to the comedians, even heavy topics like rook/bishop endgames were light and enjoyable. I also appreciate the idea of asking the chat for move ideas and responding to those suggestions. And lastly, but most importantly, besides the laugh riots and the chess improvement we were treated to, your spirit has been truly inspirational. I've been trying to get better at chess for a long time now, but the past few months have been particularly ground breaking for me, largely because of the terrific example you've set for of us. The dedication for preparing the lessons for every episode, the patience when we don't find a move quickly and your doggedness for pushing through on this every single day without fail is commendable and I am on a quest to emulate that tenacity myself. - Keith Mascarenhas


I know mine would be just another of the thousands of emails that you would be receiving currently. But definitely wanted to thank you for such a great series.  I am currently working alone away from my family in Bermuda and also preparing for my actuarial exams.  During this difficult lockdown period, your streams (and also other comedians, mainly Samay's obviously) have definitely helped me laugh, enjoy and most importantly made me love chess.  I was never a chess player before but the way you have taught it with so much excitement has definitely motivated me to learn chess after my exams (and to be honest, I started feeling sad as to why did I not learn it at a younger age as I have always been a sportsperson and enjoy playing any sport more than say working as a corporate). And other than chess, your streams, especially the last one has made me feel like you are my friends.  I know each and every one of you is a big celebrity who would receive such messages from many people like me, but it is my duty to thank you all for helping me during these times.  I hope you continue such streams in the future too. And definitely if one day we can meet, it will be a great honor. - Srijan Sehgal

Hi Sagarbhai, Thank you very much for being an inspiration! It is so crazy how the entire chess journey has been. I was at my lowest point in life after losing a job, have to deal visa issues and covid. Your daily chess class helped me analyze and think about the options right in front of me. The concept of wishing thinking which we see in chess I was able to spot in my daily thinking too. I was able to make very objective decisions in the last few months mainly because of chess! It is so wired I finally have a good job which I will be starting next Monday and today is my last day living in a temporary accommodation and last day of improving chess video. Seems like life is telling me a new cycle is starting and get ready for it! Thank you again for being so consistent, honest and sincere and above all being such a great human being. - Ruchir Sutaria


Dear Sagar Sir, My name is Monindra Nath Das and i am from West Bengal. I have been playing chess since last 1.5 years.The game has played a huge role in my life ,getting me out of the darkest times of my life and since 2020 i have decided to take it as my main profession and dedicate my life to it. I got fide rating in 2018 State championship but it was very low and after playing 2 more tournaments i lost the rating due to my lack of seriousness...But from 2020 i have taken up chess as my full time profession and started preparing seriously,i also bought the Dvoretsky's 6 books combo from chessbase India shop and is preparing and analysing from them and a few more books also....And after the lockdown the Improving Chess series started and i started learning from u and have never missed an episode ,previously when the class was from 8 am i tried to attend it live but many times failed to as i used to wake up late but after waking the first thing i used to do is to watch the full stream and learn...I found it tremendously useful and got so much to learn from u..The series has been in my daily routine of chess preparation and have seriously started considering u as my coach who give 2 hrs of class per day..I greatly respect and love u,specially your humbleness ,patience and most importantly the way u explain things and teach ,was very useful for me.I have been there watching every episode from 1-100. U may not recognize me as i have been never been able to send highlighted chat ,since i don't earn and financially totaty is dependent on my parents for Chess supports ....Overall Very Very thank u sir for the Improving chess series ,I learnt a lot from u and loved ur way of explaining things and teaching and seriously feel like u r my coach who use used to give me 2 hrs of class everyday .......Its my request to start a next series of Improving chess or something else to learn.Or else i will start feeling missing classes from my coach(Sagar Sir)...SAGAR SIR Love u. Will be waiting eagerly  for a next series of learning from u to start. - Monindra Nath Das


First of all, I would like to congratulate you on completing 100 episodes of improving chess. Also I am very grateful to have come across your channel. Thank you so much for not only for giving us 100 episodes of improving chess but also for everything that you do for chess. I have improved a lot through your videos and I am 15 year old and I think that I can become a World champion and I will but it will take time - Vishnu Sharma


Dear Sagar, As the lockdown was announced and my college was abruptly suspended, I came home and found myself at home each morning with little motivation to do anything. Watching these morning streams was heartwarming to me, and it helped me reinvigorate my love for the game of chess. I could have been more productive by studying or doing something else, but the times were tough and I believe that watching chess was definitely better than falling prey to some other distraction. Your streams, and in general the efforts you have taken for ChessBase India are an epitome of whole-heartedly following one's passion a great motivation for me to keep going on. Now that my college has resumed in an online mode and I'm already a few weeks into the semester, I have promised myself that I will put in as much dedication for study as you guys did for chess. Also looking forward to participating in chess activities in my college (which boasts quite a few good players and a proactive chess club, fortunately). With love - Jack Hughman


Improving Chess – A revolution for Indian Chess

The COVID 19 pandemic had kicked in and since March, when th lockdown in the country began, Sagar Shah from Chessbase India started conducting tutorials on chess. It started with a series where he taught imbalances from the great book – How to reassess your Chess, moved on to endgames, middlegames and openings. But it was not until 19 th May, when he began the legendary series of improving chess with the Comedians. Samay Raina was the first student and they started with the three golden rules of Checks, Captures and Threats. Slowly, they moved to calculation, keeping the tension, counterattack and countless other concepts. Soon new students started joining. Vaibhav Sethia and Biswa Kalyan Rath, the top comedians of the nation joined and provided impetus to the series. Anirban had high attendance rate as he attended 13 of the last 15 episodes after the timing changed from 8 am to 2 pm/1pm. Sagar and Samay, the two timeless and endless phenomena of nature, took this series to nothing less than a century. Yes, 100 episodes!! It helped people understand the game, get passionate about it and be consistent in improvement. The series featured several guests like Cemil, RB Ramesh Sir, Eric Rosen, Evgeny, Amruta Mam, Nisha Mam, Pravin Thipsay sir and our very own Adhiban and Vidit. On 24 th July, the 10-year-old prodigy Ilamparty was the guest for episode 57, which is no short of a landmark for Indian chess. During the stream something happened that sparked the people to call the day as Indian chess day. One of the biggest supporters for the game and the streams, Anshuman Das sent a superchat of Rs. 10000. Sagar Shah being the humble person he is, decided to use the amount for donating to Ilamparty to buy stuff from Chessbase India. At half way through the stream, he decided to use the superchat money for charity. What followed was no short of a miracle. We raised Rs. 4,62,000 in about 120 minutes for chess. Till date it remains the most memorable episode for me. Have watched it several times and cannot get enough of it. Another interesting thing to note is that the playlist of improving chess has 101 videos, not 100. This is because one video analyzes the game between Sagar Shah and Samay Raina that Samay won. An IM analyzing his defeat against an inferior opponent is a mark of greatness. It ended with the Grand Finale, with fellow comedians Joel, Abhishek, Saurav and Rahul(The backbenchers) joining and playing a 4 vs 4 tournament against Samay, Biswa, Vaibhav and Anirban(The frontbenchers). Surprisingly, the results were not in favour of front benchers, but Vaibhav became the sole winner from their team showing why a good attendance in the class is important. It felt like the end of an era when today’s finale ended. With mixed feelings we bid series for chess improvement on the internet conducted by the undisputed best tutor/commentator/journalist/human being. Thank you is all that I can say as a viewer and fan. Excited for the new journey and looking forward to more chess in the times to come. Sagar OP. Chess OP. - Abhijit Mishra


Hello Sagar Sir, what an amazing series of 100 episodes. You started the first episode with Samay on 19th May, and I have been watching every single episode from the start and even before that. Never thought this will go till 100. I feel bad sometimes because I have never sent a super chat to your channel, it is because I dont have a card or Google pay linked to my account. Once it is done will look to support Indian chess in the best way possible. But still kudos to you sir you have always involved all the people like me who are trying to participate in the stream from chat. This series of 100 episodes has involved so many things. All the Tactical themes, Blindfold training, Theoretical Endgames, Principle of Two weaknesses,  Positional tests, Tactical tests, Many Opening Ideas, Material Time Quality (MTQ) with GM RB Ramesh, Viewers tournament, Overprotection, Understanding Weaknesses, Historic stream(episode 57) in which 462k was raised with IlamParthi in the stream, Kahoot with GM Stany, Games of GM Magesh, How to Attack with GM Cemil, Eric Rosen teaching the London System, Complex Calculations, Intuitive Calculations, GM Pravin Thipsay training the comedians, Endgames Drills, Analysing games of Greats like Bobby Fischer,Boris Gelfand, Magnus Carlsen, Knowing the 66 Indian GMs, Greek Gift, Positional chess with Evgeny, Analysing games of Olympiad, Fortresses, Serious Preparation, Knowing the world Champions, All the chess openings, And finally the 100th episode. This series of 100 episodes has become like a chess manual for everyone. You along with the comedians have been a perfect combination for viewers looking for Good chess plus Entertainment. Samay who can make almost any stream fun to watch with his personality and sense of Humour. One of The funniest guys in Indian comedy Biswa Kalyan Rath. The most humble and Punctual Vaibhav Sethia. And Anirban coming in the last 15 episodes, again very Humble and an ardent chess lover. And finally you Sagar Sir, it couldn't have been possible without your Dedication, Patience and Consistency. Thank you again for everything you guys have done in possibly the worst time of our lives. All the Chessbase India streams have been therapeutic in this lockdown. It Feels bad that the series has come to an end, but all good things have to come to an end. Looking forward to more fun streams and Chess. - Akshay Mohan


Hi Sagar Sir and Chessbase India,

I'm just very happy that today 100 episodes of a series "improving chess" completed, you made a course for people like me. I consider it a vast course for beginners and intermediates. I was a casual player and a very keen follower of chess and very keen follower of a chess game in general, used to get updated from Chessbase India and learn somewhat chess from analysis and very few streams Sagar sir did. But from the beginning of this lockdown, I evolved in chess very much, and playing chess took a part in my daily schedule, as due to my online classes I used to miss it many but am covering it by watching till now. And firstly when I used to play chess and there used to be very big dips in my online rating but now from the past few months there are none of them, I'm continuously improving from 1200. Everyone is counting the 100 episodes but, what I got to learn was starting from the first 21 videos of "Improve your chess" was very helpful. So I would say that many are saying Sagar sir and Samay sir that they have brought chess back to their life but I would say this has made chess more interesting for me, I never left following and playing chess but from this series and all thing it has gone deeper in my mind. And firstly I was not thinking anything about the FiDE rating but now when this gets over I'm surely going to get my FIDE rating if I'm eligible to get above 1000. I still think that if my online classes didn't clash with its timing, I would be much better by now. So, in short, we can't call it a series it is a course which can be anytime accessed, for Beginners and Intermediate this episodes will also help them judge which part of the game to focus on (Middlegame, Endgame, Opening), for some player to judge which playstyle (Defensive, Aggressive, Tactical, etc) should they approach and which type of lines and games should they learn further, as this series consists of parts dedicated to each major openings, endgames and some parts dedicated to different styles to play games. This will help them to move further and make their way clear as me. The main thing whenever players like me who are not learning chess professionally from a coach but want to improve chess start to learn something from a book, a video, from a database, or some course. It makes it boring and as you are not a professional it will lead you to leave it. But here comes Sagar Sir's magic, he just knows how all types of players think and he makes us think in a very simple way to make us better and we can make the best moves out of the positions without making it complex.  And talking about ur interest it will never leave you throughout the series as there are comedians on the panel in more than 60% videos and they are almost on the same level as most of us in the audience is, so it makes the streams more relatable for us.So the review summarizes that it is not only for those who already saw it but also for those who are finding a place to learn chess and yes, of course, it improves chess, but if you are more serious about it you find away from here. And people got to learn and will get to learn most interestingly through this series coz it is neither too complex and sophisticated nor that much simple and just useless. - Jenil Patel


Hi Sagar Bhai, I don't know how can I express my feelings today. I am a Computer Engineering Student at Gangs' City Kolkata. I played chess in my childhood when we played typical openings like playing two moves at a time like Nc3 & Nf3 at a time. From that time, I liked chess so much because of its beautiful mathematical structure. I played often with my uncle. I didn't know any notations, even till 17 years of age, I thought that the numbers 1-8 and letters A-H is random to mark the edges. I learned chess from my first drawing teacher and then I started playing with my uncle. Till 13 years I played often but then stopped playing as I wasn't getting the interest. In March 2020, my uncle died after suffering from cancer for one and a half years. The day before his death, he told me if I can manage a chessboard as I didn't have one at that time. I told him that we can play later once he recovers, he compelled me but I refused due to his health condition. The next morning he passed away. I have been following all the Stand Up Comedians for a very long time. I got to know Samay from Comicstaan 2 like every other person. After my uncle's death, I was finding here, and there some relaxing content unlike the Tech Videos I used to watch.  My first watched Samay's video was co-incidentally where he introduced you to us. I  still remember the line, "Sagar Shah ko itna chess pasand hai na bhai, usne apne shadi pe bhi chess khela hai." I started from there. I started following ChessBase India and started falling in love with chess again. I don't know what to say. You, Vidit, Anish you guys became my family. I refreshed my youtube, again and again, to see if there are any live streams from Samay, You or Vidit, or Anish or Radja. The best thing that kept me intact to Chess in this Lockdown is you and Samay. You are such a person even Noobs like me who don't know any notation can still follow the lines. Now with your Improving Chess classes, I know it. I was thrilled to see that I understood that it was a Danish Gambit played by Upmanyu today. I follow everything. My Instagram, Twitter, Youtube became Tech and Music to chess and chess and chess. I am not a good player as such but my love for Chess and the most humble players are increasing day by day. I never thought I can cry while watching a Live Stream. Not only Samay, but I also cried hugging my mother after Emil confirmed that India was the Joint Winner. This never happened to me. I regret now that I missed the amazing community for 21 years of my life. I wonder how great of a person you are. Not only you are running your company, but you are also making 68000 people making fall in love with chess in a single stream. I can go on and on. I can say that I have followed almost 70 percent of the older 3500 Videos. I don't understand it fully to be honest but I can listen to you talking for the whole day. From the last six months, you all have become my true companion of all the times. Hope one day in this Lockdown, I can talk with you on a Zoom Call for at least 5 minutes. Thank you Sagar Bhai. Thank you for everything. You have no competition. Keep beating your own records. Thank You So much once again. Regards,

P.S.: I want to say three things,

1. Read Abhijit Mishra's Superchats in mind first  :D

2. Position Play on 69th Episode was great of a Metaphor :D

3. Never ever go on a Stream where Anish & Vidit plans to play blindfolded. :D  

- Sagnik Mitra


Dear Sagar Sir, I have reconnected to chess after 9 years because of you and sagar. I am preparing for UPSC civil services. Lockdown was very messed up. I was demotivated, stressed. But then improving chess series came and everything changed for me. Chess helped me a lot, it helped me become more patient, more inward looking and the best part was learning to keep calm after a defeat. I am still preparing for my civil services now and I am quite balanced, calm and confident now. And with god's grace, if someday I am an IAS officer, I promise to take this initiative to further chess in school academics, local events and popularise it among school students. Because chess isn't just a game, it's much more. Thanks a lot sir. Thanks a lot. - Arshad Wasim


Sir, I am Ashil and want to say that improve your chess with comedians were super episode. I really liked it . Marvelous Show I watched it daily from the 56 episode - Ashil Angarath


Hey Sagar sir, I just loved the series of Improving chess . Please bring Season 2 I would love to watch.I have improved and my chess rating has increased from 600 to 1200 all because of you. Keep inspiring us. All the best for Tourney. Stay blessed and Take care - Shivam Poojary


Dear Sagar sir, I am Akhil Biju from Kottayam,kerala.I hope you remember me as I was a part of your "stream with viewers" on international chess day. You have made me love chess.I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sparing time everyday to teach chess to everyone for free. You and samay have promoted chess and taken the game to a next level. I can't believe that 100 episodes of improving chess have completed so soon but congrats to you for this amazing achievement and thanks for your sincere efforts for helping me in learning chess. I hope to see you soon with some new episodes and series. Till then, will miss you.. Thank you guruji Guruji OP Sagar Shah OP - Akhil Biju


Hey Sagar, The Improving Chess series has been amazing. Whenever I watched an episode, there was something new to learn. The comedians being there kept the streams light hearted and made it an easy watch. Sometimes the episode numbers helped me keep track of how many days had passed. To do 100 episodes and with such consistency is a testament to your determination. Brilliant stuff from you guys. Looking forward to more fun and a lot more chess. Regards, - Vamsi Krishna


Dear Sagar, Here is a short and quick feedback for all your Chess Improvement streams since the Lockdown started (Imbalances, Endgames, Openings, Improvement with comedians, and others) (please see attached file, my writing) hope you like it!! Thank you - Mayur Gondhalekar

Nearly 4 months ago it started and I was there in the first episode of this series , at that time I never thought that this series would be a part of my routine and I will be so attached with all of u guyz.Thank u sagar shah and comedians for the quality content that u have given us for free.Suddenly I feel that for me chess is the most interesting game now🙌💜 - Aayush Khandelwal


 Thank you sagar sir for improving chess its just amazing I learnt lot from it . I played well in durgesh sir's tournament. I am just 1283 but beaten many above 1600. T😍😍hank you very much sir. - Nihelesh


Thank you so much sir for the epic streams of improving chess . lockdown was going bad until I developed intrest in chess through samays streams . I started at 800 and now I am at 1200 . I missed some streams but will re-watch them and surely will reach 1800 for sure before the end of the year. Thanks for everything and don't stop it please - Sanjay Singh Soora


Dear Sagar sir, It was a wonderful journey of 100 episodes of improving chess. Really really enjoyed and also learnt a lot starting from openings, tactics, endgames, etc. Glad to see the comedians so so enthusiastic to learn chess daily. Without a doubt their determination was unmatchable. Also a big big big thanks to you for being the best GURUJI. Even after the comedians suffered quite a few losses here and there, you kept it going. Without a doubt, comedians were brilliant entertainers and learners, but you were the one who kept us tied to this journey. THANKS THANKS SO SO MUCH SAGAR SIR, Best wishes and tremendous respect to you - Shreerup Mitra


Hi Sagar, I don’t have feedback for you but just want to let you know I started following you from Samay’s stream and you both made this dark days look brighter. Not sure if I learnt that much but still joined the class for most of the days only coz it made me forget everything and helped me find positivity around. U r such a dedicated teacher. Thank you for everything u have been doing since last few months with the Improving Chess series with the comedians. Thanks Sagar. Keep coming back with some more interesting series. Will be waiting  ❤️❤️❤️ - Monalisa Chowdhury


Hi Sagar & Chessbase India Team, I'm writing this email to give you my feedback on the improving chess series. I was never much into watching live streams and I believe you know how people do not watch whole recorded streams of 2-3 hours much. This improving chess series has been something which has changed my life and increased my love for the game of chess, it has developed an interest in me to watch streams. It is due to this series that I have learnt so much, my rating has gone from 750 to 1150 in the span of 3-4 months and I'm playing everyday and trying to improve my rating and I look forward to more streams from you so I can improve at the game. I have not been able to see the morning streams live but I have watched the whole 2-3 hours streams at night before I slept. Thank you so much for all that you've done and still are doing to grow the game. I hope you are able to make your dream of chess being the most popular sport in India a success. I'll be here to support you with my views always. This series and this online chess family has made my lockdown bearable. ♥️ - Siddharth Dev


Dear Sagar Ji, March-end was when covid had started spreading its wings (bat wings, pun intended) in India, especially Maharashtra. I had just come home from Pune and was extremely insecure and afraid thinking whether I had carried the virus home.I was consciously keeping a distance from my family members, without letting them know that I was doing it on purpose. I needed a distraction - badly. That's when Samay happened. I tuned in and discovered you in the Online Nations Cup streams. Soon Youtube recommendations did its thing and I was subbed to Chessbase India and that's how 'Improving chess' came to me. I had registered on way back in 2013 just for fun and quit it immediately in a month or so, as I was swinging between 500 to 600 back then.I was completely convinced that this was as good as I was going to be at Chess, that It's not my cup of tea. Improving chess, amongst other streams, rekindled the chess interest in me. I was more than invested in chess by now and started actively playing chess, analysing it. Whenever Sagar would analyze the game, I just couldn't miss it. I am a 1070 now, which is not a flex; but rather an acknowledgment of the hope and confidence it fueled me with; in an otherwise uncertain, hopeless time. I know these few months have been bad for everyone. I am privileged enough to have a roof over my head, but the mental stress of the pandemic was surely taking a toll on me. I could not have found a better way to engage my mind, and all of the credit goes to you guys. Sending my well wishes to Sagar, Amruta, Samay, Biswa, Vaibhav, Upamanyu, Vidit, Adhiban, Soumya, Anish, Teimour and everyone actively involved in my (and I'm sure in thousands of people like me) entertainment, engagement and enlightenment. They say you can't choose your family; but all of you guys are like an extended family to me now, and it's the family that I have chosen - and I couldn't have chosen a better one :-) ChessBase India OP. Sagar OP - Chinmay U. Katre


Hello, My name is Laksh Arora. I am 16 years old and I became a massive chess enthusiasts in this lockdown and all credits goes to you Sagar sir and to Samay bhai for introducing me to such an amazing personalities like Vidit bhai, Harikrishna Sir, Adhiban bhai etc. I can't believe that today Improving Chess has completed 100 episodes and it is coming to an end. I want to thank you for such amazing sessions and it has paid off. This is screen shot of my analysis.  Pic on right side  was the game I played on 19th May and the pic on left side was the game I played last night. I still remember back when Improving Chess started, my online class was scheduled at 9 am. I would enter the class and watch the session of Improving chess. Thank you Sagar sir for what you are doing and for what you have done for us. Love you 3000❤️❤️. Farewell😊❤️ - Laksh Arora


Sagar Sir first of all thank you for the best chess channel. I knew ChessBase India and watch the videos once in a while but when you started the endgame series, then there was not even a single day I missed something. I may have not attended all the live sessions but watched most of the videos. Also, I learned so many new things whether it be a weakness or King's Indian Attack. Currently, I have no FIDE rating but now my goal is to become a GM. My suggestion would be to start a positional masterclass or endgame series. Hope I meet you someday. - Magnetic Move


Thanku sagar bhaiya. I have lost my interest in chess when in 6th standard and this is just because of you and niklesh bhaiya. That I regain my interest and reached from 700 to 1300. Thank u sagar sir😊 - Sonika Jain


Loved improving chess... very sad it had to end... Keep up with the good work... Love you guys hope you can again make a series with #the comedians - Modern Gamer Arian


I loved the Improving chess and i want season 2(if possible). Learn a lot from Sagar Sah. Thanks For your valuable time. - Samrat Gaming


Hi Sagar shah and team, I started watching the episodes quite late and have seen only a few episodes . However I must say that whatever time I spent was worth a lot and I learnt a lot from them. The videos are some of the best that are available. I would like to thank your team and you for the tremendous effort you have put it. Your team has helped popularise chess in India and probably in many other countries. Your olympiad coverage was excellent and like many others I watched your analysis till the last match.Your coverage of each person who participated in the olympiad and the preparation involved in covering each person was really excellent. Chess stars in India are also more popular thanks to you and your team and 67000 watching live is unheard of . It is the reward of so many years of your efforts where you have travelled to so many tournaments and taken videos of stars and future stars. I can only imagine the kind of sacrifices that you and your family would have gone through. My respects for your wife and your family for all their support. Fantastic work and hats off. You are a star . I am looking forward for you to start conducting online tournaments where many of your fans would join. I hope you continue your great work and my best wishes for your success in everything. Regards - S.Sriganesh


Nothing to say, a very big fan of yours. I wished if I could come with u in a stream. - Chess Love India 2


Hello Sagar Sir!! This is Anoop working as a Software Engineer in Bangalore. I have been into chess in my 4th and 5th grade and then discontinued and pursued a short career in Quiz competitions nationally. Recently I found chess was becoming popular agains and I started watching Improving Chess series from around episode 20. I approximately watched 70 episodes live. I was not much active in the comments as I was mostly listening to the stream while I was working. I started playing in mostly playing 10 minute games and my rating started at 700 in May. Now my rating today is 1440 and that is absolutely due to the improving chess series and others in the chess community like the Wolpack streams, Hikaru, GothamChess (IM Levy Rozman) and IM Eric Rosen streams in the night. Some of the Improving Chess episodes were really special where GMs like Cemil, Junior Champion Evgeny Shtembuliak and Ramesh Sir came to the stream. It was a really well structured series. I got to learn a lot. My favorite openings are e4 as white and French against e4 and King's Indian Defence against d4 (thanks to Radja's streams). I am looking forward to the Classics streams to learn more and improve. It has been a great journey not only for the comedians on stream but even for me individually. Thanks very much Sagar bhai!! - Anoop Garlapati


It's been a long and interesting journey along improving chess with comedians. I learned a lot and went from 500 rating to 990 rating. Meanwhile I've defeated two 1500 rated players. Thanking you a lot. Just a suggestion if u can start a new series of improving chess with ordinary people - Trishit Debsharma


Hi Sagar, I have also loved to play chess since a kid and due to my love of chess I found your channel as well as Samay's channel. I just love what you guys do on streams and follow it very oftenly. I have managed to reach 1300 rating once at because of your teachings. Would love to play (and loose) against you or any of the streamers. I know its far fetched to think about gaining your valuable time for just a small game against no one. I would be astounded if I get a reply to this mail. Hope you are in good health. Kudos for the good work. - Anuj Dargarh 


I just have one thing to say.. "don't know why I am feeling very sad". 😭😭 I am emotionally connected to Improving Chess ❤️❤️❤️ Please do more things ❤️ - Sudipta Halder


Thank you sagar sir samay bhaia, biswa and biswa bhaia, You all made this lockdown an heaven and now so it is ending iam very sad but it helped me to start chess at the age of 17. I love you all but it is very sad that it is going to end. - Technical Golu


Hi Sagar, Here is a small gift for the whole team for all the contributions you did for chess.

I love this series and will be looking forward to more such content, best of luck to your chess tournament and take care. - Gaurab Dutta


Sir it was a great experience for us. A series of 100 episodes a great journey it is. Sir  I meet you on 20th June (International Chess Day) on your stream the episode of antidote for London System. Sir you met  me that day. Do you remember me Deboraj Biswas the little boy from  Assam. Sir I really enjoyed your stream very very much,  lot of love from us ☺☺🤗and sir plz bring more interesting series regarding chess. A sweet wonderful journey of 100 episodes of improving chess ❤😊😇🤓 sir ALL THE  BEST for your  upcoming series 👍. - Deboraj Biswas


Sir it's an earnest request to not stop this series. This series has helped players like me to improve a lot. Personally I can't afford a chess trainer or coach to learn from. But this series made sure i don't need one. So it would be great if u continued with the comedians or with some new people/student (who can't afford any personal trainer). But still a great series nevertheless. Thanking you in advance. - Reeshav Sharma


hello sagar sir, this is gurkirat 

i've been following your improving chess classes from the start , firstly, don't call it a show , many people like me are benefiting alot from it, and it's no less than a class but on a youtube live stream .Secondly , the classes did improve my gameplay in chess. I did play better , had reached a rating of 1320 but later dropped down 200 points after my classes and college lectures have begun realising that I need to give constant attention to it !!Also, morning classes had helped me stay awake for college lectures because it was the only thing I used to wake up for early in the morning . Now whenever I sleep during my lectures , the only thing I remember is the improving chess series and how I was awake because of it. and i'm usually busy during afternoons so it's hard for me to be regular during afternoon time.please bring any sort of morning streams related to chess , just bring it soon !! Improving chess series has not been any less equivalent to an actual class and I'm grateful I got to learn alot from it. thank you sagar sir, thank you so much for this. Regards - Gurkirat


Hello Sagar Sir, Really loved the improving chess series, would really be happy to see more of your chess series.I started to play and watch chess in this lockdown and your videos made me realize it was great thing to do.And now I'm addicted to your videos so please don't stop with just one series.I am waiting for Improving chess season 2. Thank you. - Priyanshu Sharma


So Sagar bhai , this is all started when I came across Samay's channel somewhere near the month of march in this lockdown and never in my whole life did I ever expect myself to be so enticed to this beautiful game of chess. It was the time when I first saw you on Samay's stream and I was so surprised to see someone having such kind of passion towards chess and that was just a very new thing to me. I started watching so many of your old videos from then because slowly I realised that chess wasn't that old boring game which I thought it to be. I am currently studying in 12th so it is really a lot of pressure for boards and stuff by parents , teachers and literally everyone and amidst all this chaos I found my mental peace watching your videos , Samay and VD bhai's video and it is really so relaxing for me to watch because i am usually unable to be at a great mindset to do anything because of this pressure. Sagar sir, I always wanted to share one incident with you and Samay in person, there is this guy in my class Rohan who is a very good friend of mine. So , it happened like in may, i went to his home for his birthday party along with a bunch of peeps from my school. It was all normal when the next morning we get a news that his mother's condition is very critical and they had to rush her to the hospital for treatment and in the evening we got the news that his mother passed away. But the misery did not end here, the next day at like 1 am I got a call from one of our friends who told us that apparently Rohan's father just died of a heartattack and there was this huge crowd outside his house. And there must have been a thought of this story to be fake probably but it is not, There was even a full coverage of this news on prime time. So , you know sir, how difficult it was for him to come out of that because now he was alone with his elder brother who also goes to the college and now are living with their maternal aunt and Sagar bhai you would never believe me but I started playing chess with him . Really. I kept on talking to him after that incident so that he does not lose any hope and one day i asked him to play chess with me and from that day I used to play chess everyday with him after my 3 tuitions till like mid - august and after that they went to their aunt's house and now we do not really have a way to contact him but I surely know it really helped him in some way or the other. So, you and Samay are not just normal entertainers for me, you mean the world to me ! Both of you has personally helped me so much to spare some time where i can think about nothing and just laugh for a while. I would like to thank both of you so much from the bottom of my heart. I have been really following you and Samay from like such a long time now but never got a chance to interact with any of you. To be honest, I was like always there in Samay's chat right there from the beginning and i am still there watching every single video by you both. You guys mean the world to me and I really really mean it sir. Now, coming on my chess journey part, I was somewhere around 1400 - 1500 in august and then I started watching videos of some particular openings which you posted some time back and i tried them in my games. Started solving some tactics, kept analysing my games and always sticked on to only 3 or 4 openings and there is like soooo much stuff about everything on your channel that is just excellent. And slowly and gradually , I have reached 1870+ in blitz now. I really wanted to attend lecures by VD bhai or you on unacademy to improve but my parents would never agree to that which is also quite fair because boards is the priority for now, but yeah, improving chess in particular has really really helped me so much. Sorry for ranting this much ^^'' but I always wanted to tell this to you and Samay and I love you guys really and I mean it. ❤❤❤ #SagarShahProudStudent #SamayRainaProudSubscriber - Manav Jaison


Hello it's me Bhabani a 12 year old kid from odisha. Your series benefited me a lot for sure. When I started watching your improvement series I was 1200 at that time and now I reached 1800 because of you only. I know there's nothing left with ratings but still❤️. Thanks for everything you did. I have a more request for you please make 75% attendence compulsory for comedians otherwise they'll again lose from backbenchers. Vaibhav is best example of how important attendence is. Thanks 👍❤️ lots of love to you. - Bhabhanishankar Rath


Thanks for all the classes sir....Your passion for chess is something everyone needs to know....Many concepts you taught were very useful and I have implemented them in the games....I seriously cannot imagine what the lockdown would be without you vidit samay and others....It would have seriously been such a waste of time.....I had left chess like 4 years ago and i have gotten back to it because of you and samay....Also doctor chess is one of the most incredible ideas and that shows how humble you are.....My online rating has also improved from 1600 to 2000 and looking forward to improvise my fide rating to atleast 1600+.....Thanks again for everything sir..... - Srikant Nayak


Hy Sir, I just passed 12th standard and was preparing for JEE Advance and Lockdown came... I had no Idea how to stay focused and prepare during such times, But the Improving Chess Episodes in morning helped me to start my day with immense focus and which replicated in my studies.. learnt not only chess but also about hard work from you... Thanks A Lot once again - Arya Veer


Thanks a lot Sagar sir! for your episodes, it helps a lot to emprovement. in this time chess emprovement episode is getting so excited. now chess becomes more popular in country because of your dedication. thanks for your contribution on chess journey with us. Thanks Sagar sir! - Raman Chandrakar


Sagar sir the Improving your chess stream is amazing to watch even though I lived in Doha, Qatar where it would start at 5:30 but would still love waking up to watch to teach it was amazing. Love you, sir. Regards, - Arnav Srivastava


Congratulations for completing 100 episodes. Got to learn so much from you, not only about chess but also life. The stream where you told the story of Vishwanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand world championship match and the 57th episode where the Insane amount was raised are my favourite ones. I remember it all began with golden words from you "I think we can do something interesting". Seeing your dedication towards your work inspires me to study harder (I'm student, studying in class 11). Thank you for this series, eagerly waiting for the next one. Please care of your health - Epsha Kashyap


I have been following Samay and Sagar Sir as a first mover, since the first 1000 viewers. The re-kindling of interest as far as chess is concerned, is like a mental therapy for me. Everyday, for those morning sessions and other streams, my mind was in a healthier place. Although the series has ended, it is the journey that mattered to me. I would like to highlight this, Sagar Sir, whenever Samay reached a new milestone or when you were ecstatic about India's performance, there were people like me who cried, laughed shouted just as you did- for that moment we shared the same energy and I could feel the tension through each passing day, as if it were a memory. What you should keep in mind Sagar Sir is even after the lockdown ends or even after the chess trend minimizes, don't be disheartened by the viewership. I'm mentioning this because you once candidly mentioned in Samay's stream that the viewer's are considerably low (400 approx) as compared to Samay's stream. Even if there are less members, the fundamentals of streaming dictates that those are actual people, who are investing their time for the quality content you provide. As a fan, who rarely comments on live streams, I can proudly say that your work amidst lockdown has been nothing but revolutionary. As humble as you are to admit that you have touched upon so many lives and changed so many, like mine- one day maybe i can interview you as a fan,as an admirer. Love from a chess aficionado. Take care and Stay Safe Sir, - Prathamesh Deshpande


Access all the 100 episodes of Improving Chess on ChessBase India's YouTube channel

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