ChessBase India is seven years old!

by ChessBase
1/23/2023 – ChessBase India turned 7 years old on 18th of January 2023. The little baby is growing up pretty quickly. In this article, the CEO and co-founder of ChessBase India, IM Sagar Shah writes about the work done by the ChessBase India team in the last 365 days. There is so much to tell that we are splitting Sagar's report into two parts.

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The grind to power chess in India is real and just to give you a couple of quick examples – ChessBase India published a total of 3,822 videos in last 365 days, which works out to an average of 10.4 videos per day! 1000 articles were written on the newspage, and more than Rs. 1.5 million have been given to various chess players via HelpChess.

I think there is no better day than 18th of January each year to look back at all the things we have achieved! This is the day when ChessBase India was incorporated as a Private Limited company back in 2016. And today we are proud to say that this little endeavour to power chess in India and make it the most popular sport in the country has lasted for seven years! Each year I try to write an article on this day and here are a few that I have written in the past – when ChessBase India turned

I took out some time from my schedule on the 18th and 19th of January (thank you Wijk Aan Zee for having a rest day) and just looked back on the things that we did in 2022 and how we tried to pursue aggressively our vision of "Powering Chess in India."

ChessBase India YouTube channel hits 1 million subscribers

The ChessBase India YouTube channel gained 260 million views in the last year (18th Jan 2022 to 17th Jan 2023), and from 774,000 subscribers we moved to 1.07 million. It's a big achievement for us. It feels like a seed that was sown in the soil has not just grown into a beautiful tall tree, but also has started bearing fruit.

How many videos did we publish in the past one year? ChessBase India channel published a total of 2827 videos (2456 videos, 252 livestreams and 119 shorts). Hindi ChessBase India published 462 videos in the last one year (350 videos, 104 livestreams and 8 shorts). We had 531 videos on ChessBase India clips channel and one video each on ChessBase India Gujarati and ChessBase India Marathi (newly launched channels). This makes it a total of 3822 videos published by the ChessBase India team in 365 days. An average of 10.4 videos a day!

YouTube has been one of the most important resources for us to popularize the sport and reach more people. ChessBase India became the fifth chess channel on YouTube to cross one million subscribers (after Agadmator, Gothamchess, Hikaru Nakamura and Chess Talk). 

A memorable surprise thanks to the Westbridge Anand Chess Academy (WACA)

From 0 to 1 million. How to create a million subscriber YouTube channel

When we hit a million subscribers we announced a giveaway where we would give 100 subscribers a product of their choice from the ChessBase India shop.

All of these 100 people sent us their pictures! We are happy that we took on this ambitious project and managed to complete it successfully.

A small note: While many are aware of our presence on YouTube, we must mention that our Facebook page is quite huge as well, with over 900,000 followers.

ChessBase India coverage:

The YouTube channel, Facebook as well as Instagram page are important avenues for video related content of ChessBase India. But did you know ChessBase India initially disemminated chess news only through its new spage. The ChessBase India news page covers just about every important event in which an Indian is playing. Sometimes we even cover tournaments where Indians are not playing, although such a scenario of a tournament without an Indian player is becoming quite rare these days! The Candidates 2022 was a good example of that. The ChessBase India news page published a total of 1000 articles in the past one year! That's nearly three articles a day for a year.

ChessBase India Originals Death Match 1.0 and 2.0

We have always felt that chess can be made into a spectator friendly sport. While this was quite apparent in our streams with thousands of people following it, a natural question to ask was how would it fare if we held a chess event on ground. Would people be interested to visit it? 2022 was the year when we decided to test this hypothesis. We organized the first ever ChessBase India Originals Death Match at the Phoenix Marketcity mall in Mumbai.

Death Match 1.0 was held between super GMs Anish Giri and Vidit Gujrathi and witnessed a live audience of 1000 people who were glued to their seats for more than four hours to watch the drama unfold in front of their eyes! It was a ticketed event where each ticket cost Rs. 499.

In order to make chess more spectator friendly you have to make certain arrangements. And we were ready to do all of them. We designed the stage like a boxing ring, we got big LED screens for people to watch, there were headphones with commentary to understand what exactly was happening so you can enjoy the thrill without disturbing the players. 

Here's the entire Death Match 1.0. Don't miss the moment at 5 hours and 22 minutes when Anish Giri lifts the winner's belt, and also the one at 5 hours 21 minutes where the entire crowd erupts into Vidit, Vidit, Vidit to cheer him on! When did you last see something like this happening at a chess event!

ChessBase India Originals 2.0 was held in Hyderabad between two of the brightest young talents of Indian chess - Arjun Erigaisi and D. Gukesh

Arjun triumphed in the closely contested match to become the Death Match 2.0 champion. Gukesh ensured that Arjun didn't have it easy. It was a wonderful fight.

ChessBase India Chess Club

There are very few place across the country where a chess lover can simply come and play chess! We wanted to start a chess club in Mumbai which would be free and open to all. This we managed to do with the help of Phoenix Marketcity mall in Kurla, Mumbai. In the middle of a busy spot in the mall, every Saturday 50 tables and 100 chairs are set up for people to come and play chess. We started on 19th March 2022 and since then we haven't skipped even a single Saturday! This means that the Chess Club has been on for 44 Saturdays now!

The chess club has individual tables for each board and gives you a tournament play like feel!

Players from all groups come to the club! Young, old, rated players, absolute beginners! If you want a game of chess, you are sure to find a player of your strength at the club – unless you are Magnus Carlsen!

In order to ensure that the players at the club keep improving, we have introduced the 4th Saturday ChessBase India Chess Club Prize money tournaments. It has a prize fund of Rs.10,000 and it provides free entry to all those who have attended the club on first three Saturdays! Until now we have completed three tournaments in the months of October, November and December.

 

We hope to expand this model of free and accessible to all chess clubs all across the country!

ChessPa in Chess Adventure Park

When Amruta Mokal (co-founder of ChessBase India) wanted to order a fun book for her three-year-old nephew to learn chess, she couldn't find an appropriate option. That's when an idea came to her to make a children's chess book which would be interesting for young kids to get acquainted with the sport. And she began working on it with her childhood friend Ketki Kulkarni. They started on 14th of February 2022 and the book was launched on 14th of November 2022! It took 9 months to complete the project and we think it is an important contribution towards the chess literature of chess! It is also the first ever book published by ChessBase India.

The book has vibrant illustrations and is very attractive for young kids!

Get to know more about ChessPa in Chess Adventure Park

Launch of HelpChess website

ChessBase India has always believed in giving back to the chess community. The HelpChess website was a step in this direction. There are so many talents in Indian chess in need of funds and there are many people who would like to help them.

With HelpChess Foundation we had created the bridge between these two entities. Maintaining transparency and ensuring that every penny of donor's money is appropriately spent is something that we truly believe in and we work really hard for the same. To carry out the work related to supporting chess players we have an entity called HelpChess Foundation which is registered as a Charitable Trust. We are also Section 12A compliant under the Income Tax act and 80G registered. 12A ensures that we have tax relief because are not making any income here - all the money collected is being used to power chess in India. And 80G ensures that all the people who contribute to HelpChess Foundation get tax benefits. You can read about the 80G section here. If your dream has always been to support young and talented players, then having the 80G benefit makes it even better as you can effectively plan your tax.

Earlier people would contribute to our HelpChess Foundation bank account. But that would mean that we had to have mail exchanges. This is when we decided to build the website and take our efforts to the next level. The HelpChess website lets you donate by clicking a button - you can be a believer (any amount of donation above Rs.100) or you can be a Big Believer and contribute Rs.50,000 or above.

Since the day the website was launched on 22nd of September 2022 we have collected Rs. 8,26,340 just through the website. The details of this entire amount will be given in a separate article that I am working on. But apart from this we also have several scholarships that are in progress. The total amount that we have disbursed to chess players in the last 9.5 months (i.e from 1st of April 2022) is Rs.15,04,630.

HelpChess has already supported over 30 chess players and we often ensure that dedicated players receive not just one time support but a regular one. With HelpChess our aim is that real talent in chess must not suffer because of lack of funds. We started small in the year 2018. But thanks to so many people believing in us, we are able to make a difference.

A small video that we created about the HelpChess website

ChessRanga - the ChessBase India Academy

The idea of the ChessBase India Academy stemmed from the fact that we have so much of instructional content on the ChessBase India YouTube channel. How can we organize it in a way that people can extract maximum benefit from it? That is how we went about building this platform. We want high quality learning and education to be easily accessible to everyone out there. If you want to learn the rules of chess just go to How to Play Chess - Level 1, and it will take you through the entire basics of chess. Move to the next level with How to play chess - level 2

Currently we have seven courses that are present on the ChessRanga website

One of the most beautiful things about the ChessRanga website is that when you are watching the video, a board will pop out and you can input your answer in interactive format

We are going to work on the ChessRanga platform in the year 2023 and ensure that if you are a chess player who is keen on improving at chess, you get the best possible resources in your hand.

That's enough for today – so many projects, so many videos. Part two will follow soon.

 

 

 


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raticknight raticknight 1/23/2023 08:58
Sagar Shah… Congratulations on your ChessBase India 7th year Anniversary and a fantastic job in developing your visionary chess program for all to enjoy. You show so much enthusiasm in all your chess videos and events, no wonder why your vision of chess development will just keep on growing! I see no end… job well done!
Washington, NJ USA
MK
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