Comedian and amateur chess player Samay Raina has brought together ten big names from both the comedy and chess worlds for a Chess For Charity fund-raising live stream this Saturday. Starting 3pm on April 25, the event will feature Indian chess legend and multiple-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand, as well as international masters and grandmasters such as Vidith Gujrathi and Tania Sachdeva, go up against Raina and his fellow comedians, including Tamnay Bhat and Biswa K Rath. All funds raised by the event will go towards providing safety kits to waste pickers in New Delhi.
The charity event is a natural extension of the chess streams that Raina has been hosting with his friends for the past month as a way to pass the time and keep his audience engaged during the lockdown. “Just before the lockdown, Tanmay Bhat suggested I focus on streaming as it’s the next big thing,” says Raina. “I started off by streaming PUBG one day but I didn’t enjoy it much, so I decided to focus on my interests. Which was chess.”
Raina brought together his friends in the comedy scene and also reached out to Croatian chess player Antonio Radić, who runs the agadmator chess youtube channel, and began to stream chess games regularly. When a stream featuring Indian cricketer and former chess player Yuzvendra Chahal brought in over 13000 viewers, Raina realised that he could use this as a platform for fundraising.
“Sagar Shah from Chess Base India, a website that covers chess news, helped put me in touch with Viswanathan Anand, who was more than happy to join in,” says Raina. He adds that the event is not just for chess nerds, and will feature a number of rounds with fun, playful variations on the game. “It will be a mixture of both chess and comedy, and we’re going to make sure it’s a lot of fun.”
The funds raised during the event will go to Delhi-based NGO PAIGAM, which has been working to help the waste pickers of New Seemapuri, Jahangirpuri and other areas of Delhi get the basic safety and protection equipment they need to do their jobs safely.