As the deadly Covid-19 pandemic continues to rapidly spread around the world, a growing number of sports stars and organisations have come out in support of medical workers and hospitals to fight the global disease. Some have pledged their salaries while a few others have donated medical equipment to fight the dreaded outbreak, which has caused more than 24,000 deaths globally. In a heartwarming move, Chennai’s chess academy, Chess Gurukul, is collecting funds from those interested and the Chess community at large in order to provide needed services for people affected by the disease.
Donations will be targeted supporting older people, particularly where they are confined to their homes and at risk of social isolation, as well as poor people. “Under the circumstances, we wish to do our little bit to contribute to this worthy cause,” Ramachandran Ramesh, a Grandmaster and founder of Chess Gurukul, wrote on Twitter.
1. Chess Gurukul Charitable trust is collecting funds from interested public & Chess community to serve the society in these difficult circumstances. Many have lost their livelihood due to the nation wide lock down. Elderly people are stuck at home without anyone to take care
— Ramesh RB (@Rameshchess) March 28, 2020
In an exclusive interview with The Bridge, Ramesh explained, “The first person to initiate funding was Grandmaster (Pentala) Harikrishna. He contributed Rs. 2,00,000 in a bid to support this cause. Since then, we have been reaching out to other players from the chess community for donations.
Once we have a good amount, we want charitable organisations with free passes from the government to take this forward and help the needy. We request the chess community to come forward and donate liberally to the cause in your own way.”
Besides Harikrishna, another young grandmaster Karthikeyan Murali has also shown a good streak in him that many others are willing to follow. He has donated Rs. 25,000 to support the cause.
Founded by Ramesh and his wife Aartie Ramaswamy, both of whom are Grandmasters, in 2008, the academy is considered in the chess community to be at the forefront of training kids to play the game of kings. Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa, Chithambaram Aravindh, and others have been assets to Ramesh’s academy for way too long.
But this is not the only time that Chess Gurukul proved it is capable of serious social impact. “When I started Chess Gurukul, there were parents who told us that they can’t afford to pay large fee amounts. Because mostly belonged to poor families. Many have been trained free of cost.
And then, there are players who are doing too well. But they can’t travel to other countries, so we have collected funds to help them achieve their goals. During the 2017 Chennai rains, we took up social causes, helped people, provided basic amenities to the disadvantaged communities,” Ramesh added.