The people who keep ChessBase India going
ChessBase India turns 6 years old today - 18th of January 2022. In 2016 we had incorporated ChessBase India as a private limited company with the vision of powering Indian chess. Over the years we have made an honest attempt to make the vision into a reality. While Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal founded the company, there are several individuals who have worked and are working day in and out. In this article we acquaint you with all the team members who are a part of ChessBase India. Many of them work behind the scenes and are never in the limelight. This is a small effort to recognize their efforts.
ChessBase India turns 6 years old
18th of January 2022 marks the completion of six years since ChessBase India began. In 2016, on this very day, the company was incorporated. Last year, in 2021, I had written a long article, which spoke about how ChessBase India came into existence and the work we have done in the last five years. The sixth year of the company has been equally exciting with many new projects and many new goals were achieved. We have more people following chess through the work we do and we are moving towards our aim of making chess into the most popular sport in the country. But today, I want to take a break from talking about all the achievements of ChessBase India, and instead focus on the people who have helped to make it happen.
From 2016 to 2022
But none of this would have been possible without the people who have worked day in and out to make ChessBase India, one of the biggest chess media outlets in the world of chess! Here are the individuals, who have made it happen.
Business Development Manager
Supriya joined ChessBase India in 2017. Hailing from Mumbai, she was a chess parent and would travel to tournaments along with her son Avathanshu. She had very little idea of how chess works, nor about finance, or sales! But in five years, she has turned herself into a powerhouse and an integral part of the team. Right from managing the backend, to accounts, to sales, to customer relations, to finance, Supriya is the backbone of the company. If there is a job that needs to be done in the company and no one has been assigned to do it, it is usually Supriya who picks it up! It was Supriya who made sure that the chess set was made available on ChessBase India last year. Right from making the product to packaging, to customer service, it has been her baby. Today it is one of the most successful products of the company!
Senior Coordinator and Editor
Shahid joined ChessBase India back in 2017 when we wanted to organize online events on Playchess. He left his job as a school teacher in Kolkata and started working for ChessBase India. Over the years, many of the things that Shahid does at ChessBase India have changed. He has a FIDE rating of 1923 and loves to keep himself connected with competitive chess by playing tournaments every now and then. As of now he is the soul of the ChessBase India newspage. Almost all of the articles that are published on our website are written by him. I think of him as a machine. Be it Sunday or Monday, weekday or weekend, Shahid is on his computer typing away one article after another. His focus and concentration became apparent in ample measure to me in one of the tournaments that we covered together. He can sit for hours together doing a tedious task without getting distracted. In the present day, this is nothing short of a superpower.
Writing is not the only thing Shahid does. He is a fine video editor, he organizes ChessBase India's online tournaments, works on the social media pages and also travels to different events to cover them in person.
Head of ChessBase India Hindi
Niklesh was my friend from 2008 when he visited my home in Mumbai and stayed for a couple a weeks before an important event in France. We became good friends and travelled to many tournaments as chess players. When ChessBase India started, Niklesh asked me if he could cover events in Hindi. Niklesh has a great grasp over the language and liked doing journalistic work. We launched ChessBase India Hindi newspage and later the YouTube channel as well. Niklesh is of the opinion that one of the reasons for less number of strong players getting created from Northern parts of our country is because we do not have good chess literature available in Hindi. It has always been his endeavour to make sure that someone not knowing English is not a barrier in him/her becoming a good chess player. Niklesh is a one-man army who has made ChessBase India Hindi into a popular destination for the Hindi speaking audience. Today the Hindi YouTube channel boasts of 85,300 subscribers! This hasn't happened overnight, and Niklesh has spent many a sleepless night for it.
One of the most recent additions to the team of ChessBase India. Shashwat is this prodigious programmer who hopes to make ChessBase India into a tech company. Shashwat might be close to 700 Elo when it comes to chess, but is a grandmaster in programming! Since its inception, ChessBase India has been a media company. In the coming years we hope to become a tech company as well, so that we can make a bigger impact in the world of chess.
Editor and Technical support expert
Avathanshu wrote his first article for ChessBase India when he was 11 years old! He and ChessBase India have grown up together it seems to me! Always filled with new ideas, Avathanshu has the unique ability to not just ideate but also to follow through with tough tasks and be accountable for them. Writing is his forte, but he regularly comes up with new ideas like ChessBase India Juniors, Off the board tales, ChessBase India Elite Pass. Currently, he is the biggest expert when it comes to ChessBase India products, and regularly solves queries of customers who do not understand how to use our softwares! In between his exams and studies as an 11th grader, Avathanshu ensures that no ChessBase India customer is left dissatisfied. For me he has been and will always remain a prodigious writer! His "off the board" tale stories on ChessBase India show the vibrant side of chess and how beautiful the game is.
Video Editor and Graphic designer
Once India no.2 Vidit Gujrathi told me, "Sagar, you seemed to have upped your YouTube game! Look at your thumbnails. They are so professional!" One man has been responsible for the same - Abhyudaya Ram. Abhyudaya has been working over a year with ChessBase India and has made a lot of things aesthetically pleasing. From thumbnails, to professional video edits, to better layouts, it's been possible because of this youngster from Karnataka. And when it comes to his usage of memes on ChessBase India clips, very few can beat his sense of humour.
Yaseen and Yusuf Shaikh
Any order that you place on ChessBase India is fulfilled these two brothers! Be it your software keys, books, Chess sets, Vedika's chocolates, t-shirts - Yaseen and Yusuf ensure that no customer has to wait too long to get their products. Ensuring that the products are properly packed, keeping meticulous records of the sales is something that they excel in.
Nongsha Angom started his work at ChessBase India not just as a broadcast expert, but also as an editor. Over the years, he has now become a full-time broadcaster manager at Playchess and ensures that the world can see the games live on ChessBase platform. Hailing from Assam, Nongsha carries with him a "everything can be done" approach and is a very positive addition to the ChessBase India and ChessBase team.
Satanick never really played a competitive game of chess in his life, but was enamored by the world of problem solving. As a mathematics student, Satanick was drawn by the beauty of chess composition. Each and every day Satanick wakes up and updates the position of the day on ChessBase India's social media - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the Android App. He responds to player's answers and his consistent work has made a lot of people fall in love with the world of chess compositions. Satanick is also a phenomenal writer, although his main love lies in writing about chess studies and compositions. A lot of top players including Anish Giri, Judit Polgar and several other grandmasters have liked the position of the day problems that Satanick posts each day. It's amazing how he can cater to such a huge variety of audience with his puzzles from the super-elite to absolute beginners!
One fine day Nidhi wrote to us on our Instagram page that she has some ideas to make our social media more attractive. We decided to give it a try and she has been working part-time for over a year now trying to bring all the updates to chess fans all across the world. ChessBase India relies heavily on social media for the dissemination of its information and Nidhi plays a crucial part in the entire ecosystem of the company.
A PhD by education and an entrepreneur by profession, Rupali got associated to the chess world through her son Raahil Mullick. Raahil is an IM and one of India's talented youngsters. Sustaining a youngster's chess career, involves a lot of travel. Rupali would travel to a lot of tournaments with his son and wait outside the tournament hall, like many of the parents. Once when Praggnanandhaa became the youngest IM in the world in 2016, I asked her if she could interview the lad. I was in Mumbai, and Rupali was present at the venue in Bhubaneshwar. Rupali did a phenomenal job (It is one of our most precious videos!). Rupali has covered some of the biggest opens all across the world and the viewers enjoy her coverage and her great interviewing skills!
When it comes to creating certain complex graphic designs and logos, Jeevan has been our go-to person since the inception of ChessBase India. Be it the logo of ChessBase India, the logo of HelpChess Foundation, the outro of ChessBase India YouTube channel, the Jeevan touch exists!
When we began our startup we had very little knowledge of how things were to be done. After all we were full-time chess players. At that point, it was these advisors who helped us learn the ropes of entrepreneurship and ensured that ChessBase India did not get derailed.
(Clockwise from Top left): Thomas Friedel is a fantastic programmer and built the CMS of ChessBase India where we write our articles. It's been over four years since he has created it, and it is still going pretty strong. Frederic Friedel - the co-founder of ChessBase, who has played a major role in the success of ChessBase India at many levels. He helped me personally to become a better writer, he guided us in the chess world with his experience of covering innumerable chess tournaments and he was always there to give us advice on a wide range of issues surrounding our company in the initial years. Ajinkya Kurdukar - when it comes to any legal issues, Ajinkya is the person whom we contact. His depth of law helps us to look at the things we do with much greater confidence. Dharmen Shah - my father, financial advisor and so much more. He has helped ChessBase India in a lot of ways. Even right now we use one of his offices to store some of our chess books!
Last but not the least, I would like to thank my partner in crime Amruta Mokal, with whom I have spent countless hours discussing the smallest of things that we ought to be doing for making ChessBase India thrive. We have fought, we have argued, we have disagreed, but we have always had the common vision and love for chess which helps us to remain on the right track! If it were not for Amruta, I don't think ChessBase India would have existed!
There are so many more people who have contributed to ChessBase India in some or the other way. Some of the employees who worked for us in the past and have contributed to ChessBase India's growth story are Priyadarshan Banjan, Dipika Joshi, Hinduja Reddy, Tanmay Srinath, Prakhar P., Atul Dahale, Dipankar Kamble, Dipalee Thakar, Chetna Mhatre and several others. We also want to thank ChessBase GmbH in Gerrmany, for believing in us and our idea. The support of its CEOs Rainer Woisin, Mathias Wuellenweber and many other employees has been tremendous.
ChessBase India has had no investors since its inception. It's a bootstrapped organization. Yes, we have had to work with limited resources in the past, and we still do, but everyone who works at ChessBase India believes in the common vision of "Powering Chess in India". You, dear viewers, have played a big role in the last six years of supporting us in every possible way and we hope that you will continue to shower us with your love in the years to come!