Game’s up for Zerodha’s Kamath after ‘beating’ Anand in charity game

Nikhil Kamath apologises for 'manipulation' and the accompanying 'confusion' even as chess federation secretary calls it ‘unfortunate’

Vishwanathan Anand, Chess, Grandmaster, chessboard
Anand tweeted Kamath’s statement and added he just played the position on the board. PTI File Photo

You can’t be playing a charity match against Vishy Anand and winning it too! Something that Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath did on Sunday (June 13). The billionaire made his move against the five-time world champion Vishwanathan Anand, and the ‘game was up.’

Kamath won the match, only to apologise later for “manipulation”, as All India Chess Federation (AICF) secretary Bharat Chauhan said it was “unfortunate” to see unfair methods being employed in a charity chess game.

The startup founder admitted to using unfair means and apologised for creating confusion.

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“Yesterday was one of those days that I had dreamt of when I was a really young kid learning chess, to interact with Vishwanath Anand. Got the opportunity thanks to Akshaypatra and their idea of raising funds for charity conducting a bunch of chess games with Vishy. It is ridiculous that so many are thinking that I really beat Vishy in a chess game, that is almost like me waking up and winning a 100mt race with Usain Bolt,” he said.

Help from people, computers

Kamath said he had “help from the people analysing the game, computers, and the graciousness of Anand Sir himself to treat the game as a learning experience”. This was for fun and charity, he added. “In hindsight, it was quite silly as I didn’t realise all the confusion that can get caused due to this. Apologies,” he added.

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Anand tweeted Kamath’s statement and added he just played the position on the board and expected the same from everyone. “Yesterday was a celebrity simul for people to raise money. It was a fun experience upholding the ethics of the game. I just played the position on the board and expected the same from everyone,” he tweeted.

However,  Chauhan was unforgiving. “We don’t expect anybody to get help from computers. At the national and state level we are following the protocols. We are putting cameras where players are playing and there is a fair play committee which includes three grandmasters and two players,” he told ANI.

The AICF secretary said the Checkmate COVID progamme is launched to help the chess community and not only Anand, but a lot of other players playing for this charity. “Yesterday, a lot of celebrities, like Aamir Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Kamath, were there and various other celebrities were there for the initiative,” Bharat said.