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A Move with a Heart

by ChessBase India - 21/04/2022

e4 is one of the most popular, enterprising opening moves in the game of chess. On Sunday 17th April 2022, we saw that it is a powerful move off the board too. Group e4, a group of 100+ families from 35+ cities around the world came together to raise close to ₹25 lacs to support some of India’s most talented young chess players being mentored by Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, five time world champion. Check out the press release from this wonderful, noble initiative to help the budding talent of the country. All photos are from GM R B Ramesh's fb.

100+ families from 35+ cities around the world raise about ₹25 lacs

On Sunday, April 17th, eight chess players who are either international grandmasters or masters received a cash prize of ₹2 lacs plus a laptop. Two other emerging chess players received ₹50,000 each at a private function in Chennai. Digital Empowerment Foundation, founded and led by Mr. Osama Manzar, gave a digital tablet each to the parents of each of the chess players for their role in their success. Manzar said, “We are so happy to support Group e4, the chess prodigies and their parents who have strived and sacrificed.


Mrs. Aruna & Prof. Sham Navathe (Atlanta), one of Group e4 donors, said, “India is the birthplace of chess and we are delighted that so many families have stepped forward to support these young prodigies and keep India the home of world chess champions!

WFM FA FT Aarthie Ramaswamy with Vishy Anand

The chess players, chosen on the criteria of their talent, need for resources, and the qualities they have, are: GM R Praggnanandhaa, GM D Gukesh, IM, WGM R Vaishali, IM Aditya Mittal, IM Pranesh M, WIM Savitha Shri B, CM Daakshin Arun, WIM Rakshitta Ravi, Divya Deshmukh and Illamparthi A R.


“I am really moved to see such a huge response. What started as a small conversation has become a movement. To see chess players get recognition and support is so gratifying. I look back and see there are many chess achievements but sometimes these moments are the real ones. Thanks to Satya Prabhakar for helping coordinate the fund-raising effort” said Viswanathan Anand, five-time World Chess Champion.


Each of the chess players had a compelling story to tell. Knowing that they were being recommended by Viswanathan Anand himself brought a lot of credibility to the cause.


“It is doubly gratifying to see the enthusiasm of the chess prodigies and that of so many generous families ready to support them, ” said Aruna, wife of Viswanathan Anand, who helped coordinate the effort.


We are delighted to be a part of this amazing initiative to discover, spotlight and nurture gems with the kind support of giants like Viswanathan Anand. Giving money is the easier part but to get the time and commitment of able volunteers and mentors in this inspiring journey is the tough part, ” said Anuradha and SN Rajan (Thane).


Dr. Saleema Razvi & Dr. Amirullah Khan (Hyderabad) said, “Encouraging children to play and think is what education especially aims for. It is through such unique acts of kindness that our donors have contributed to holistic enrichment of childhood.”


Group e4 made its first move a week back when Satya read about Viswanathan Anand in the newspapers and discussed if anything could be done to help the upcoming talent. In a few hours the group was set up and contributions started pouring in. In a span of seven days, the group has 107 donor families and has raised close to twenty-five lacs.


R B Ramesh, Grandmaster and coach at Chess Gurukul who has been part of the selection process, said, “It is really an honor and privilege to be part of a process where young talented chess players are identified and rewarded for their achievements. I thank Group e4 for their effort to support and encourage these talented young children who have already made their mark in the International arena and brought glory to our nation. I am sure, with such support, they will bring more laurels to our country and to themselves. Special thanks to Mr. Viswanathan Anand and Group E4 for the amount of effort they had put to make this happen.”


As Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh are away in Spain playing in the La Roda Open, they sent a video message thanking the sponsors for such a noble gesture.


Savita Shri who was present at the function along with her father said, ”I am very happy to be here today. I hope to do well in the coming months and I am sure this will give me more motivation.” The Group E4 hopes to build on the response and use streamlined procedures to create a database to match talent and resource.


Vishy Anand tweeted his thoughts

About the players

GM R Praggnanandhaa: India’s finest junior talent; recently defeated Magnus Carlsen.


GM D Gukesh: India’s “Young Gladiator”; became the first Indian to win La Roda Open.

Gukesh's mother and grandparents receiving the prize on behalf of him from Vishy Anand

IM and WGM R Vaishali: One of India’s brightest hope in the Women’s category; part of India’s Gold medal winning team at FIDE Online Olympiad 2020.

IM and WGM Vaishali with her father, receiving a digital tablet from Aruna Anand

IM Aditya Mittal: National child award for exceptional achievement; two GM-Norms.

IM Aditya Mittal with his mother Kusum Mittal, receiving the laptop from Vishy Anand

IM Pranesh M: won many National level events; two GM-Norms.

IM Pranesh M with his father, receiving his prize from Vishy Anand

CM Daakshin Arun: Recently beat seasoned GM Sandipan Chanda at 3rd Gujarat Open; Showed a huge increase in his FIDE rating by more than 300 points in two years.

CM Daakshin Arun and his father with Vishy Anand

WIM Rakshitta Ravi: World Champion in youth online chess championship Under-16 Girls; holds two WGM norms and on-card to become India’s next WGM.

IM Ravi T S receiving on behalf of his daughter WIM Rakshitta Ravi

WIM Savitha Shri B: One of India’s young hopes in the Women’s category. Part of India’s Bronze-medal winning Olympiad team.

WIM Savitha Shri B with her parents receives her prize from Vishy Anand

Illamparthi: Represented India in many international events from the age of 8.


Divyabharati Masanam: South Zone Inter-University Women Champion 2022; recently won Tamil Nadu State Under-18 Girls Chess Championship.

Divyabharathi Masanam collects her prize from Vishy Anand

Source: Press Release

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