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ChessBase India's year 2020 in rewind

by Sagar Shah - 01/01/2021

What was the work done by the entire ChessBase India team in 2020? 750 articles were published on the website, 924 videos created on the YouTube channel, over 150 million views, 25 online tournaments with close to Rs.16,00,000 disbursed as prize money, over 32 lakh rupees raised for charity and hosting several events with an aim to empower chess professionals and enthusiasts. Over the board tournaments hardly happened during the year, however, each and every member of the ChessBase India team worked throughout 2020 to power chess in the country and the world! Here's a rewind of the entire year that gives you an overview of the work done by ChessBase India from the 1st of January to 31st of December 2020.

2020 statistics for ChessBase India at a glance

No. of articles published on chessbase.in website: 750

No. of videos published on the YouTube channel: 924

No. of online tournaments conducted on Playchess: 25

Amount of money disbursed as prize money: Rs.15,97,224

Amount of money raised for charity: Rs.32,29,264

 

Let's begin with some of the specifics:

Microsense Kramnik Gelfand Camp 2020

The year 2020 kicked off with one of the most unique events ever organized. 14 of the biggest talents in Indian chess got a chance to work with Kramnik and Gelfand in a 10-day chess camp sponsored by Microsense and organized by ChessBase India. For players like Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh, Raunak, Arjun Erigaisi, Iniyan, Prithu, Arjun Kalyan, Raahil, Vaishali, Aditya Mittal, Bharath, Sreeshwan, Rakshitta and Leon this was a great opportunity to get trained by two of the best minds in the world of chess!

The group photo of the Microsense Kramnik Gelfand Training camp held from 7th to 18th of January 2020 in Chennai 

The players had a great chance to interact and learn from two legends of the game!

Amruta and I took care of most of the logistical necessities related to the event and we also took care of all the youngsters during the camp. It was a memorable experience!

The entire event was carefully documented. You can check out the Check out the final article with the links of articles for all the days in it and you can watch all the videos related to the camp over here.

Candidates 2020

Candidates 2020 was an event that we were greatly excited for. However, it could only be completed until the half way mark. Apart from covering it in the form of daily articles and special pieces, we also managed to work with India no.3 Vidit Gujrathi who gave daily round ups for the event. There were also small snippets by GM Vishnu Prasanna who simplified the most complex ideas at high level chess into digestible bites! Check out our Candidates 2020 articles (as always this is the final one with links to all others at the end of it) and the playlist on our YouTube channel.

Improve your chess with Sagar Shah

On 24th of March when the news of complete lockdown started to make rounds, I found it to be the best time to impart the secret sauce of my chess improvement in the form of 21 episodes. Yes, it was the method of Imbalances that I had learnt from Jeremy Silman's book Reassess Your Chess. It had transformed my understanding of the game. Through this series of Improve your chess you too can grasp the concepts of positional play, right exchanges, weaknesses, winning won positions, how to analyze your games and much more. Niklesh also began with his series on the Hindi ChessBase India channel and together we raised Rs.1,25,894 for the PM CARES Fund via Superchats. As YouTube keeps 30% of the amount received via superchats, I decided to chip in with that amount personally so that the entire amount would be donated.

 

Follow the entire 21 days of Improve your chess with Sagar Shah (This is one of the most popular playlists on the ChessBase India YouTube channel and has over 40,000 visits!

Follow improve your chess series of Niklesh Jain in Hindi

Improve your endgame

Following the success of the Improving Your chess, I decided to launch an ambitious series named improve your endgame. Now this series was much more complex than just the basic endgames that one would learn. Complicated endgames like Rook + bishop vs Rook or Queen vs Rook or Queen + pawn vs Queen were covered here. The aim was to do a 9-part series of videos, but it went on for 15 episodes. I would say this is one of the highest quality endgame learning resource out there on the internet.

 

Check the 15 episodes here

Improve your openings

The aim of this series was to give you detailed insights into main lines of different openings. Considering the scope of work was too large, at some point this series discontinued. But it was after 22 videos had been made. You have an entire repertoire for Black against 1.d4 with the Nimzo India, Queen's Gambit and Bogo Indian systems. Also covered was the Benko Gambit by GM Swapnil Dhopade. After tackling 1.d4 with 12 videos, we move on to 1.e4 where I recommend the classical response with 1...e5. All the main lines including the Ruy Lopez, Italian, Scotch have been covered. You can check it out here. I had just begun with the introduction of Caro Kann and the Classical variation in the Caro Kann, when this series abruptly came to an end. I hope to resume it back soon. But even then it is quite a valuable playlist and can help you to improve your repertoire with Black against 1.e4 and 1.d4.

 

Improve your openings with IM Sagar Shah playlist

Improve your chess with Comedians

One of the most comprehensive series on chess improvement with 100 episodes that deal with basics like checks, captures and threats and advanced concepts like overprotection and principle of two weaknesses!

If you have time and energy and are keen on improving your chess, then Improving Chess with Comedians is the series you want to check. Four of India's top stand-up comedians - Samay Raina, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Vaibhav Sethia and Anirban Dasgupta, learn from IM Sagar Shah. It's not a structured series, but if you go over all the episodes, you will notice that your chess strength also increases along with the comedians. The titles of the videos let you know the topic that was covered in that episode. This can help you to navigate the 100-episode playlist. Just to let you know how loved this series was, you can check the article where the feedback of the viewers is published.

 

Check the Improve your chess with comedians Playlist (There are 101 episodes and the last 2 videos are compilation videos that give you feel of the entire series)

Chess Principles for Beginners with Amruta Mokal

If you have learnt how the chess pieces move and do not know what to do next, Chess Principles for Beginners will help you to take the next step in your chess journey. Although the series only has 4 videos until now, all of them have been very carefully created and edited and gives you just the right amount of information to chew as much as you can digest.

 

Chess Principles for Beginners by Amruta Mokal Playlist

Also applicable for this level is Midnight Chess with Kusha and Sapan - 16 videos

Mastering Chess with Sonali and Niveditha by Amruta Mokal - 12 videos

Grandmaster Chess with comedians

If you are looking for a series where the world of highest quality of chess meets the world of improving players, then Grandmaster Chess is the series you would like to look at! Top players like Anish Giri, Vidit Gujrathi, Boris Gelfand, Nigel Short, Surya Ganguly and many others show their best game of chess. But that is not all! They choose 10 moments from that game which are then posed as questions to the comedians. For every right answer you get a point and each wrong one earns you 0. At the end of every session we have a winner and at the end of the entire series (the final number is not known!) the winner will take home a beautiful DGT bluetooth chess set. This series helps you to understand how the best players in the world think. As the comedians try to grasp the nuances of the position, you too can do it from your end and improve your game in a huge way.

 

Grandmaster Chess with Comedians with 12 episodes till date

Basic Opening Chess Trap

A series that began just for fun, now has the most number of playlist views! | Photo: Ayushi Sharma

The aim of this series was to show certain opening traps that are very basic in nature. In learning them, you understand the patterns and can avoid those same mistakes in your games. At the same time you can also trap an unsuspecting opponent! A total of 44 videos have been created in the series and is one of the most frequented Playlists on the ChessBase India YouTube channel.

 

Basic Opening Chess Trap Playlist

Chess Classics you must know

A key element of chess improvement is knowing some of the most famous games that have been played over the yeas. Learn from the Classics is a series to acquaint you with some of the most well-known games by the great masters of the past. I try to make the learning as interesting as possible by posing 10 questions and asking you to guess the moves. Until now 9 episodes have been completed. This is a series which I definitely would like to take to 100 episodes!

 

Learn from the Classics Playlist

Doctor Chess

While all the series involves people learning passively as viewers, Doctor Chess is where Sagar interacts with the audience in a closer environment. People queue up in the Appointment Lobby on ChessBase India's Discord. One person is allowed into the Doctor Chess room and he gets to ask questions to Sagar about how he can improve and work on his game. Sagar devotes anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes to every individual and tries his best to solve their query. Just like how a doctor treats a patient, the aim here is to solve the chess problems of every patient and send them back in better chess health!

 

Doctor Chess Playlist (includes 1 episode by Adhiban Baskaran)

YouTube statistics

ChessBase India YouTube channel is one of the most popular chess YouTube channels out there. Here are some of the statistics that were sent to us by the YouTube team:

50,000+ minutes of content uploaded on the channel during the year

People did enjoy the content!

The updated numbers for 2020 are 295.9k subscribers, 156.4 million views and 11.6 million watch hours!

Fundraisers

There were several fundraisers that were conducted throughout the year. Some of them were done independently by ChessBase India, some of them in collaboration with different organizations. At the end of the year, the total amount that was raised was Rs.32,29,246. A detailed breakdown of it is given below. 

Improve your chess series with Sagar Shah and Niklesh Jain raised Rs. 1,25,894 and Let's Fight Corona together online blitz tournament on 9th of April raised Rs 2,43,243. A total of 3,69,137 were donated to PM Cares Fund. Here's a detailed breakdown of all the people who contributed.

Checkmate Covid-19 tournament held by Chess Kerala in association with ChessBase India raised Rs.4,51,650 to be donated to the Kerala Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund

A total of Rs.3,70,131 were raised for blind chess by Samay Raina and ChessBase India Foundation. Read, how this happened in just two hours!

Let's rebuild West Bengal together Fundraiser with the best minds of West Bengal Chess raised Rs.58,193

On the 57th episode of Improving Chess a total of Rs.5,23,345 (YouTube cuts 30% of the superchat amount) was collected via super chats. All of this money was eventually utilized for Indian chess. Rs.3,00,000 were spent in the Super Juniors Cup 2020 and Rs.90,000 were spent for Ilamparthi's training expenses in the Chuchelov Vidit training camp  

Rs.2,11,226 were raised for specially abled chess players in the Knighthood online blitz sponsored by Sujit Varghese. GM Vidit Gujrathi gave a simul which also helped to raise quite a lot of funds.

Quite a sizeable amount of funds were raised for Ovarian cancer research when we did a stream with Cancer survivor Nishtha Gupta. As the money went to the official platform of Ovarian research, we do not have the statistics of the exact amount collected.

Rs.11,29,873 donated for coach Durgesh, who suffered from brain haemhorrhage. World class GM Anish Giri played the tournament in order to raise funds!

Make your move online blitz tournament raised Rs.1,15,691 for Round Table India and their initative of Freedom through education

Scholarships

The ChessBase India Foundation has scholarships that are disbursed every year. This year we had the Pursue Your Chess scholarship by Ashwin Subramanian worth Rs.75,000. This is the second year where Pursue your chess scholarship has continued. In 2019 it was Sammed Shete who won the scholarship of Rs.50,000 and went on to become an IM. This year the scholarship was enhanced to Rs.75,000.

Pursue your chess scholarship of Rs.75,000 given to Shahil Dey (Rs.50,000) and Anirudh Potawad (Rs.25,000)

K. Priyanka won the MKG Scholarship for the 2nd year in a row worth Rs.50,000 . She had won the scholarship in the first year that it was introduced. Her good performance motivated Jagadeesh Balakrishnan (the sponsor of the scholarship) to continue with her for the second year as well.

We had also announced the Tender Therapy scholarship of Rs.1,08,000 by Rekha Nahar. However, due to the Pandemic, we have decided to postpone the selection of the winner. Once the normal tournaments resume, the winner of this scholarship will be announced.

Online tournaments

24 online tournaments were held on Playchess during the year. Adding the Super Juniors Cup 2020 makes it 25 events that ChessBase India has organized during the year. In all a total of Rs.15,97,224 have been disbursed in the form of prize money to the players. Each tournament would have an invitation article published on our newspage and a final report. We took extreme care to ensure anti-cheating measures and that the most deserving players would get the prizes.

On the Playchess online platform we managed to conduct huge number of tournaments.

Here are the list of the tournaments that were conducted during the year:

 

Five weekly Saturday blitz events with a total prize fund of Rs.50,000

March Masters Online Blitz with prize fund of Rs.50,000

Buddhibal Kreeda Trust online blitz on 14th of April with a prize fund of Rs.30,000

Checkmate Covid-19 by Chess Kerala with the prize fund of Rs.52,000

Sultan Khan Cup with a prize fund of Rs,1,01,000

Kings' Chess Academy online event with prize fund of Rs.34,000

Buddhibal Kreeda Trust Fischer Random Online event with prize fund of Rs.35,000

Five events of Maharashtra Chess Association organizes LetsUp Grand Prix with prize fund of Rs.1,55,000

Late Shailesh Nerlikar Online Blitz with a prize fund of Rs.33,000

1st Leelavathi Memorial by YVK Chakravarthy in Collaboration with Kings' Chess Academy with a prize fund of Rs.30,000

MD Bhagwat Online Memorial Chess 960 event with prize fund of Rs.50,000 organized by Buddhibal Kreeda Trust

Knighthood online blitz sponsored by Sujit Varghese with a prize fund of Rs.1,50,000

Good Earth Online Blitz with a prize fund of Rs.50,000

Durgesh fundraiser online blitz with a prize fund of Rs.50,000 sponsored by Sushrutha Reddy

Make your move online blitz with a prize fund of Rs.1,00,000

Maheshwarand Saraswati Online Blitz 2020 with a prize fund of Rs.60,000 organized by Buddhibal Kreeda Trust

Events

Apart from online tournaments, ChessBase India has also indulged in the organization of several events that have added value to the chess community. The FIDE Online Trainers Seminar helped in creating many more trainers in the country, petitions to make Sultan Khan a GM, Arjuna award for chess players of India, IOC simul, Chuchelov - Vidit training camp and Super Juniors Cup are some of the key events that ChessBase India organized during the year.

FIDE Online Trainers Seminar from 29th to 31st of May 2020. 71 players were awarded the trainer titles!

No Arjuna award for 7 years! A petition for Arjuna award for chess players that received 21,000 + signatures. We also received the news that the relevant people in the Government got to know about this news and are planning to give chess its due recognition in 2021. Let''s hoe that happens.

A 10-day chess camp with world's top trainer Vladimir Chuchelov and India no.3 GM Vidit Gujrathi. This event was organized by ChessBase India in association with Vidit Chess Club.

Super Juniors Cup with 32 of the most talented youngsters of Indian chess was held from the 6-10th of December 2020 with a prize fund of Rs.5,20,000. This entire event was organized by ChessBase India. Rs,3,00,000 was sponsored by subscribers of ChessBase India (Episode 57 of improving chess), Rs.2,00,000 by Samay Raina and his Ambani OP members and Rs,20,000 by Tania Sachdev and her subscribers. Read all that you wanted to know about the event here. In addition to this Rs.47,224 were disbursed as prizes via YouTube memberships.

YouTube memberships:

The following people became members of the ChessBase India YouTube channel during the super Juniors Cup. Hence all the money that was collected (Rs.47,224) was distributed among the top 8 finishers of the event.

Member NameLevel Of MembershipAmountAfter 30% deduction
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SUDARSHAN K MBooster of Indian Chess199139.3
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Randy AlstoneSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
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Goutam MurlidharSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Visweswaran KameswaranSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Arunava BhattacharjeeSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Arvind RamnathSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
shrikant parabSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Eesha DuttaSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Sansar SinghSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Priyabrata MallickSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
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Lavish GoyalSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
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Randy AlstoneSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
ANAY KHANGANSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Vishnu VardhananSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Ishan JoshiSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Jaimin SahebaSupporter of Indian Chess299209.3
Subhrajoy DuttaPromoter of Indian Chess599419.3
CA Mohit SinghPromoter of Indian Chess599419.3
Manosij BasuPromoter of Indian Chess599419.3
Shivam UpadhyayPromoter of Indian Chess599419.3
Arjunlal BPromoter of Indian Chess599419.3
Tejas ChitnisPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Sparsh NigamPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Charan Teja KattumenuPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Harshal PandyaPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
NileshPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Anas EdacherryPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Kiran IyerPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Ashwin JayaramPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
ShyammsmPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
ChessmathicianPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Dharmen ShahPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Aman SinghPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Tapan KrishnaPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Arjun N BharadwajPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Santosh NenePillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Fufoo EsportsPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Nirvana LahaPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Devin anandPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Rohan VermaPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Asadullah KamangerPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
ZeusPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Sujit VarghesePillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Chess PunsPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
ANANYA TRIPATHYPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Abhijit MishraPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Sambit GhoshPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Mrityunjay JalanPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Pavan YalamanchiliPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Keith MascarenhasPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Aditya JittaPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Siddharth RanadivePillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Sudarshan RanganPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Pramod MenonPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Akshat ShenoyPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Jaydeep ChakrabartyPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Sriraam RamakrishnanPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Mihir KananiPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
vaibhav saraswatPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
akshay sharmaPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Shrish NagvekarPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Vini Vedi ViciPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Ayushi SharmaPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Ajeet prsinghPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
dhairya davePillar of Indian Chess799559.3
vivek madyPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Just A Random GuyPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Ankita KulkarniPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Sumeet JainPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Subodh PatilPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Subhrajoy DuttaPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Anuradha RaviPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Rahul MalhotraPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
Dr. sminil mahajanPillar of Indian Chess799559.3
6746347224.1

 

After the tournament ended, we have the following people who are now members of the ChessBase India YouTube channel:

Members after Super JuniorsAmount
Gokul RamanathanSupporter of Indian Chess299
Sumedh DeshpandeBacker of Indian Chess89
Ankush DhyaniBacker of Indian Chess89
AvdhutBacker of Indian Chess89
Arkadeepta RoyBacker of Indian Chess89
hushaar oomBooster of Indian Chess199
Amey KulkarniBacker of Indian Chess89
Raj SBacker of Indian Chess89
Bhagat MakhijaniSupporter of Indian Chess299
Mohit ManghnaniBacker of Indian Chess89
SriniBacker of Indian Chess89
Nilay BarveBacker of Indian Chess89
SLBacker of Indian Chess89
TECHY PrakHarBacker of Indian Chess89
Russell NurserBacker of Indian Chess89
lovejot singh AujlaBacker of Indian Chess89
Sivakami SubbuSupporter of Indian Chess299
Aman GulatiBacker of Indian Chess89
Pratip RaoBacker of Indian Chess89
Parth ShahBacker of Indian Chess89
InFeRnOBacker of Indian Chess89
DikshantBacker of Indian Chess89
Shubham ShahBacker of Indian Chess89
Karan MehtaPromoter of Indian chess599
agam dixitBacker of Indian Chess89
Sowmya KumariBacker of Indian Chess89
Girolamo CastaldoPillar of Indian Chess799
Chetan SureshBacker of Indian Chess89
4452

Please note, the above amount is before YouTube charges of 30% on memberships.

 

Consider becoming a member of ChessBase India YouTube channel and let's together power chess in India!

If you do become a member of ChessBase India YouTube channel, all of the amount will be utilized for scholarships, sponsorships, prize money, training to Indian chess players.

The position of the day feature:

The position of the day, featuring one chess composition daily, is something unique to ChessBase India. It was started in April-May 2019 and has continued to this day in a consistent manner. The idea behind sharing these positions is two-fold: firstly, we want to offer our audience top-notch mental exercises to work on every morning; and secondly, we want to introduce them to the very creative and fascinating but often overlooked world of chess problems and studies. To this day we have easily shared more than 700 positions accompanied with high-quality descriptions, pictures, and brief biographies of their creators. This is also a section which invites regular engagements, because the author, Satanick Mukhuty, makes sure to reply to as many comments as possible and initiates a stimulating dialogue or discussion. If you are someone looking to hone your logical and analytical skills, this is a section we can assure you will benefit from.

 

The way in which you can get the position of the day each day is by following us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or downloading the ChessBase India Android App. The benefits of viewing the position of the day in the app is that you also get the solution to it. Try to solve today's position of the day:

Let's kick start 2021 with an entertaining mate-in-2, shall we?

Some good articles to read from the ChessBase India website

Over the course of the year we have had 750 articles published on our newspage - www.chessbase.in. Each of the articles is carefully crafted with introduction, pictures, main text, captions and the main idea is to bring you interesting and engagin chess news. Below we have shortlisted 27 articles which we think were special during the year.

 

Life lessons from India's 39th GM - Ashwin Jayaram

10 masterpieces from top 10 women players of India

Interview with the youngest ever Aeroflot Open winner Aydin Suleymanli

Levon Aronian's wife Arianne Caoili is no more

April Fool's Prank - Adhiban to make debut in Big Boss

The best games of Garry Kasparov's chess career

The biggest rating gainers in Indian chess in the last year

How the stand-up comedians are popularizing the game of chess

The life of composer Steffen Nielsen

The best of Anish Giri interviews

India's 66th GM who balances chess and education - G. Akash

The Queen Bee of ChessBase India - Amruta Mokal

Independence Day Special - when the tricolour was unfurled

Nakamura signs with premier esports team TSM

Top Grandmasters of Indian pay homage to their coaches

The man with a golden heart - IM Anup Deshmukh

100 episodes of Improving Chess with Sagar and the comedians

The entire gold medal winning Indian Olympiad team interviewed by ChessBase India

Raja Ravisekhar, the man who played 16 consecutive national championships from 1975-1990

How Velammal Education Trust created 9 GM in Indian Chess

A talk with Judit Polgar

The true path to Chess Improvement

Grandmaster at the age of 36 - Kevin Goh Wei Ming

ChessBase India YouTube channel is now 500,000 subscribers big!

Comedians on Board 3

Leon Mendonca becomes India's 67th GM

The Christmas New Year puzzle solving competition

A vibrant social media

ChessBase India has a vibrant social media which is very active. Here are some of the numbers of the various platforms as on 31st of December 2020.

 

YouTube channel: 543k subscribers

Facebook: 103,589 likes and 141,559 Followers

Twitter: 19.9k followers

Instagram: 50.4k followers

ChessBase India App on Android: over 10,000 downloads with 4.6 rating and 252 reviews

Google reviews: 63 Google reviews with 4.9 rating

 

I would like to thank the entire team of ChessBase India for working hard day in and out with the single minded aim of powering chess in the country. None of what we have achieved would have been possible without your support, dear readers. A big thank you! 2020 was great, 2021 will be even better! We will work towards it.

 

If you have any feedback, do not hesitate in contacting us on chessbaseindia@gmail.com