chessbase india logo

Billionaire Nikhil Kamath admits to beating Vishy Anand using unfair means

by Sagar Shah - 14/06/2021

India's youngest Billionaire Nikhil Kamath sat down to take on Vishy Anand in the Checkmate Covid fundraiser that was organized by Chess. com India and AICF. The game began with Vishy playing 1.Nf3 and Nikhil blundering his pawn with 1...e5. It seemed like this encounter wouldn't last long. But unbelievably, Nikhil turned things around, playing one amazing move after another. Before you knew it, Vishy was already lost and the five-time World Champion resigned. In this article we have a closer look at this game and also let you know why beating a legend like Vishy, even in a simul, is never easy.

I remember the first time I played Vishy Anand in a simul. The year was 2005 and it was an inter school chess tournament organized by NIIT that I had won jointly with a fellow Mumbaikar Meghan Gupte. The top 20 finishers of the event got a chance to cross swords with Anand in a simultaneous exhibition.

The setting of the simul

I was so nervous that I couldn't just think straight. I wanted to show my best chess, but the confidence with which Vishy would come to my board and make his moves made me feel like it was an impossible task to beat this mighty champion. Yet, I tried hard, fought it out until the rook endgame, was a pawn down and eventually Vishy squeezed out the win.

As a 15-year-old boy who was rated around 2050, you cannot imagine what a big impact this meet with Vishy had on my chess career!

I managed to keep my scoresheet intact for years!

This autograph/signature of Vishy Anand was my prized possession

What happened to the score in the simul? Vishy played against 20 really talented boys of Mumbai and crushed them all! 20 wins with no losses! That's how good he is at these simuls. I remember him being in a tough spot in two games, against my two good friends Aditya Udeshi and Kaushal Shukla. He wriggled out of the mess in both of them and came out on top.

Vishy was magnanimous as always and awarded both Kaushal Shukla (left) and Aditya Udeshi (right) with trophies and compliments for giving him such a tough fight 

Aditya Udeshi, who is now an IM, was slowly trying to outplay Vishy, when the legend understood what was going wrong and muddied the waters by pushing his pawns. Below is the game with some light annotations by Aditya himself.

For Kaushal Shukla, it was a case of Anand misplaying his opening. He got the chance of his life to checkmate Vishy's king, but couldn't deal the final blow.

Kaushal Shukla vs Vishy Anand

Kaushal should have played Nb5 in this position and Anand's king on c8 would have been toasted. But he went Na8, Vishy jumped at the opportunity to exchange the queens and eventually won the game.

The reason why I put up these examples, is to show you how difficult it is to beat Viswanathan Anand, even in a simul. When Vishy plays a game, be it in a serious tournament or in a simul, he knows the importance of it. If you beat Vishy Anand, you get the bragging rights for the rest of your life to have beaten a five-time World Champion.

The above video was shot just 2 years ago in 2019 at Lindores Abbey in Scotland. Vishy was ruthless as he outplayed 8 pretty decently strong opponents in just 43 minutes! (I had just 47 minutes of recording time left when I began shooting, but Vishy ensured that I got the full video)

When I saw that Vishy lost against Nikhil Kamath, the CIO and co-founder of Zerodha and True Beacon, I was very surprised. I tried to do some research on Nikhil's strength as a chess player. He is not a FIDE rated player. There are some other profiles of Nikhil Kamath on the FIDE website, but those are just different people with the exact same names. In an interview with Economic Times Nikhil mentions how chess helped him in the stock market game as well, as some of the principles of chess and stock markets overlap. It was also mentioned that Nikhil had played at national level until he was 17 years old and then eventually gave up his chess as well as schooling in order to pursue a career in stock markets.

Nikhil Kamath, also known as the youngest Billionaire in the country | Photo: chess com India livestream

The simul with Vishy Anand

This is how the simul with Vishy Anand worked on the 13th of June 2021 - It was an online simul held on the chess. com India YouTube channel. It was for a noble initiative of raising funds through the Akshayapatra NGO for education and food for children. Vishy took on five players - Nikhil Kamath, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sudeepa Khicha, Sajid Nadiadwala and Riteish Deshmukh. Both sides had 30 minutes each. There was another batch of simul where Vishy took on four opponents - Aamir Khan, Arijit Singh, Anaya Birla and Manu Kumar Jain. If you imagined Vishy decimating 8 strong players at the Lindores Abbey simul by moving around, beating five of them in 30 minutes was not going to be too difficult. But then something truly unbelievable happened! Nikhil won his game

 

For someone who hasn't played chess in over 15 years, it's quite mind boggling that he could outplay Vishy Anand in this style. Here's the entire game with annotations:

After winning the game, Nikhil was asked by host Samay Raina if he expected anything of this sort would happen. He replied, "I think I got really lucky on the knight and bishop exchange. I think I didn't even see that the mate was covered on the other end and that thing changed it for me."

 

Anand was asked if he could have continued the game instead of resigning, to which Vishy replied, "What should I have done instead of resigning in that position. I think it's a bit silly to blitz. It's ok for them to try to blitz me but it would be ridiculous if I try to blitz at that point." The five time World Champion further added, "Basically after 1...e5 in the opening you don't expect this to happen and I did get a bit lost to do something with my extra pawn. Clearly I shouldn't have taken on e5 (on move 19). Maybe the whole plan was wrong. You know you just feel like you have an extra pawn and matters would take care of themselves. But then at some point I could not detect a single mistake in his moves. They were just all perfect, tactically also perfect, everything worked. After 28...Bg4 Bxg4 Nxg4 is nice but also Qxh2, I didn't see what to do. But by then it's just too late. I don't think it matters what I do at that point."

 

Some key moments of the game which are truly striking, are the following:

 

Vishy Anand vs Nikhil Kamath

Nikhil blundered a pawn on the first move of the game! Vishy simply captured it with Nxe5.

Re8 is a cool move which not only prevents any forks on e7 but also defends Nxe5 threats as after Nxe5, Black can meet it with Rxe5 Qxe5 and Bxf2 - this is what happened in the game.

...b4! is an extremely powerful move. It opens up attack against the b2 pawn.

...Bb5!+ Generally when you are attacking you do not want to exchange pieces, but here Nikhil has seen that after Nxb5 the rook on a2 is hanging, Qc4+ seals the day

...Bg4!? is an extremely strong move. It's not just about removing the bishop from f3 which is well placed. The line which is very difficut even for GMs to calculate is Bxg4 Nxg4 Qe8+ Kh7 and Qe4+. Now the knight on g4 is hanging and also the rook on c2. But in both these variations Black is winning after some intricate calculations. Such high class positional moves like Bg4 backed by tactical accuracy is what top GMs and engines excel in.

At this point Vishy Anand resigned the game as he losing major material. He could have continued the game as Nikhil had only 13 seconds on the clock and Vishy could have beaten him on time by flagging him. But Anand like a true gentleman, simply called it a day.
The livestream on Chess. com India channel where you can see the games beginning around 1 hour 19 minutes mark. Tania and Samay are analyzing all the five games of the simul one after the other.
Game analysis by IM Sagar Shah and the entire story
Well known chess YouTuber Agadmator has analyzed this game in his video. Later he also put up a Tweet, which can be seen below.

Later in the day Nikhil Kamath's chess.com account was closed due to fair play policy.

Well-known Canadian GM Eric Hansen expressed his opinion on Twitter:

This is what the Vice Captain of Indian Online Olympiad 2020 team GM Srinath Narayanan tweeted:

The fundraiser

The above game has taken away the limelight from the actual reason of the stream - a brilliant charity event that brought together one of the greatest sporting legends that India has ever produced - Viswanathan Anand, and some of the most famous Indian personalities from Bollywood, Cricket and Entrepreneurship. The aim was to raise funds for Akshayapatra and the Checkmate Covid initiative of the AICF. And the event was greatly successful as over Rs.10 lakh were collected.

It was a great effort by Prachura P. IM Rakesh Kulkarni, Samay Raina, Tania Sachdev and the entire chess. com India team for putting this all together.  

Addendum:

At 11.40 a.m., minutes after this article was published, Nikhil Kamath publicly apologized on Twitter:

At 12.07 p.m. Vishy clarified his stance on this issue through his Twitter account:

We asked Aruna Anand, Vishy's wife for a quote on this and she mentioned: "Well Nikhil contacted Anand today and explained this tweet . Anand replied to say that he can't deny the algorithm and personally wouldn't comment on the issue. He requested Mr. Kamath not to involve Anand’s name in his tweets or in his course of action. That he went ahead and did it and allege something is disrespectful."

 

At 17.03 Nikhil Kamath tweeted the following:

The final word came at 21.12 on 15th of June:

 


Related news:
निखिल कामथ की "बेड मूव " से शर्मशार हुआ शतरंज

@ 14/06/2021 by Niklesh Jain (hi)
Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik to play a four-game match of No-Castling Chess

@ 23/02/2021 by Sagar Shah (en)
एआईसीएफ़ के सलाहकार बोर्ड में शामिल होंगे आनंद

@ 09/01/2021 by Niklesh Jain (hi)
Vishy Anand turns 51 years old

@ 11/12/2020 by Sagar Shah (en)
Vishy Anand back home...finally!

@ 15/06/2020 by Susan Ninan (en)
जर्मनी से वतन भारत वापस लौटे विश्वनाथन आनंद

@ 01/06/2020 by Niklesh Jain (hi)
Vishy Anand beats Ian Nepomniachtchi in 17 moves | Online Nations Cup Day 3

@ 08/05/2020 by Sagar Shah (en)
Vishy Anand's art of building a fortress | Nations Cup 2020 Day 2

@ 07/05/2020 by Sagar Shah (en)
Attend the Vishy Anand ET Now webinar on 19th of April 2020 at 1.30 p.m.

@ 19/04/2020 by Sagar Shah (en)
"Hang in there and this will pass soon" - Vishy Anand

@ 02/04/2020 by Sagar Shah (en)
50 वर्ष के हुए आनंद ! भारत रत्न के है हकदार !

@ 11/12/2019 by Niklesh Jain (hi)
Vishy Anand versus Gujarat

@ 08/09/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
Vishy Anand welcomes Nihal Sarin to the 2600 club!

@ 03/06/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
The friendship and rivalry between India's first two GMs - Vishy Anand and Dibyendu Barua

@ 15/04/2019 by Rakesh Rao (en)
The solution to the mate in three problem given by Kramnik to Anand

@ 27/02/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
The mate in 3 study which was given to Anand by Kramnik

@ 20/02/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
Vintage Vishy - Why do we call him that?

@ 14/02/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
What happened when Gukesh and Pragg visited Vishy Anand's home in Chennai

@ 07/02/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
Anand on Wijk: "It's a bit like coming home"

@ 04/02/2019 by Aditya Pai (en)
Limited spots for two-day chess training workshop with Vishy Anand

@ 19/01/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
World Rapid Championship: Anand closes in on the tournament leaders going into the final day

@ 28/12/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)
World Rapid Championship: Tough day for Carlsen

@ 27/12/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)
Indian grandmasters share Vishy Anand gems on his 49th birthday

@ 12/12/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
Vishy Anand recaps Carlsen versus Caruana World Championship Match 2018

@ 01/12/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)
Batumi Chess Olympiad: India's chances of a podium finish diminish after a catastrophic ninth round

@ 04/10/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)
Batumi Chess Olympiad: Sasikiran helps India edge out Czech Republic, women suffer their first loss

@ 03/10/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)
Batumi Olympiad round 4: USA too strong for team India, women beat Poland

@ 28/09/2018 by Aditya Pai (en)
Live Games and Updates of Team india from Batumi Olympiad 2018

@ 24/09/2018 by ChessBase India (en)
I may take risk in chess, but it is completely unacceptable in finance - Vishy Anand

@ 23/09/2018 by Nongsha Angom (en)
Vishy Anand on the cover of Sports Illustrated India

@ 20/09/2018 by Sagar Shah (en)