“We have made chess more consumable for the masses”: Samay Raina for TOI

by ChessBase
9/6/2020 – In a chat with Times of India during the Online Olympiad, Samay Raina spoke on how the idea of YouTube streaming chess took shape during the lockdown this year, his dream of starting and Indian Chess League in the coming months and much more. “I had to find my own niche — something I really like which was chess. I never thought so many people will take to this and it all feels so surreal.”

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Comedian takes up chess

CHENNAI: Arati Gupta, a 25-year-old IT professional based out of Chennai, played chess at school level but now follows the sport only during World Championship matches or top-level events featuring India. As India took on Russia in the FIDE Online Olympiad final last Sunday, Arati was glued to the YouTube channel hosted by comedian Samay Raina along with Chessbase India that brought top players to commentate on the big-ticket clash. Arati was among the thousands of fans across the world to have embraced chess in the last few months thanks to the efforts taken by Samay via his YouTube streams. In a chat with TOI during the Online Olympiad, Samay spoke on how the idea of YouTube streaming took shape during the lockdown this year, his dream of starting and Indian Chess League in the coming months and much more.

What triggered your decision to start your own YouTube channel when the world was hit by pandemic?

I thought it was the need of the hour. Like Charles Darwin has said, it is not the strongest of species that survive but the most adaptive of the ones that survive. The circumstances were such that we had to do something as we can’t just sit back at home and get depressed. I am an entertainer and entertainment can be channelized in different ways. My friend Tanmay Bhatt had asked me to stream and soon I joined in. It started off with games that were very popular. I had to find my own niche — something I really like which was chess. I never thought so many people will take to this and it all feels so surreal.

Did you ever feel chess players will embrace humour as they usually come across as serious and sober?

I had no idea until I met Vidit Gujrathi. I used to think they are a serious lot. In fact, I didn’t know many chess players apart from Viswanathan Anand. I had heard of Vidit and used to see his games but when I interacted with him I realised — how chilled out he was. We connected instantly.

Read the full interview at The Times of India


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