Start-up founder Nikhil Kamath apologises after cheating to beat Viswanathan Anand in charity game

·3 min read

The co-founder and CFO of start-up Zerodha, Nikhil Kamath, has apologised after he cheated to beat Indian chess legend Viswanathan Anand in a charity chess match on Sunday.

The five-time world champion Anand was playing simultaneously against a host of celebrities for a fundraising event organised by Chess.com and All India Chess Federation, called Checkmate COVID. The money raised from the initiative was to be donated to The Akshaya Patra Foundation. Anand's "opponents" were to include actor Aamir Khan, cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal, composer and songwriter Arijit Singh, actor Riteish Deshmukh, producer-director Sajid Nadiadwala, along with Kamath.

Surprisingly, Kamath won the charity game against the country's biggest chess legend.

But a day later, Chess.com suspended his account while Kamath issued an apology on Twitter.

"I 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. In hindsight, it was quite silly as I didn't realise all the confusion that can get caused due to this. Apologies," he tweeted.

He also added, "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 100m race with Usain Bolt."

Anand, on his part, posted an image of Kamath's statement on Twitter, and added, "Yesterday was a celebrity simul (simultaneous games) 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."

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Even Kamath's apology stirred controversy, with the start-up founder appearing to imply that the Grandmaster knew that he would be getting help.

However, people close to Anand shot down the claim immediately.

Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly tweeted, "Cheating starts @nikhilkamathcio Continues till end. Now trying to say @vishy64theking knew it. No he didn't. Like everyone he is also shocked (sic)."

While it is not known what computer program Kamath used to cheat, Danny Rensch, the Chief Chess Officer at Chess.com, posted a statement which hinted that Kamath's account was shut due to unfair practises used by him. The statement did not name Kamath or what method he had used to beat Anand.

"No account closure is made without hard, statistical evidence as well as a rigorous manual review€¦ No account closure brings us joy, but we remain committed and work hard to ensure that all chess games are played fairly on Chess.com€¦" the statement read.

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