Zerodha founder and one of India's youngest self-made billionaires, Nikhil Kamath, has found himself the focus of netizens ire after 'beating' Indian chess Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand in a virtual match. With countless individuals unconvinced that such a turn of events was possible, the business leader founder himself banned from chess.com for violating their "fair play" policy, even as others took to calling him out on Instagram.
The match was part of a COVID-19 fundraiser that saw the former world chess champion take on a slew of well known personalities including Bollywood producer Sajid Nadiadwala, team India cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal and Kannada actor Sudeep. According to reports, the event raised more than Rs. 6.7 lakh, most of which be donated to the Akshayapatra Foundation.
This match however was a tad different. While at a completely winning position, Kamath was poised to lose on time (with mere seconds left) when Anand resigned. And as few individuals spoke admiringly about the Zerodha founder's Chess skills, social media platforms were soon flooded with posts accusing him of using unfair means to eke out a win. Others still brought out an earlier interview where Kamath had said that playing chess helped hone trading skills.
"Absolute douche move to 1. Cheat, 2. Cheat in a charity event, 3. Cheat against a five time world champion," opined one Reddit user.
"This dude is the CEO of one of India’s favourite unicorns. I don’t get why he had to cheat," said another.
"I must admit, chess.com does have an amazing fair-play detection system," tweeted Indian team vice-captain Srinath Narayanan.
While accusations of foul play are not something to be bandied about lightly, it would seem that Kamath himself admits to using dubious means to take on the grandmaster. In a tweet on Monday morning, he agreed with the opinion put forth by many online - that it was "ridiculous" to think he had beaten Anand at chess.
"Woke up to this. Complete disrespect to chess. Nothing justifies cheating. Going back to sleep," tweeted Commonwealth chess champion Tania Sachdev.
"I had help from the people analyzing 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 wrote.
His apology however has not gone down the way he might have hoped. The Zerodha founder continues to be panned online, this time for putting up a lacklustre apology after being "caught". A Twitter user suggested rather uncharitably that he might want to take "help from engine for writing apology" too.
"Yesterday was a celebrity simul 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," Anand remarked sharing Kamath's statement.