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The Bigg Beast in Bigg Boss - it was an April Fool's Day prank!

by Sagar Shah - 05/04/2020

The ChessBase tradition of April Fool's Day prank continues! On 1st of April 2020 we published an article of how the Bigg Beast B. Adhiban has been selected as one of the contestants for the popular TV reality show Bigg Boss! Adhiban's bold and carefree attitude made him the perfect candidate for being a participant on the show. Quite a few of our readers instantly caught it as an April Fool's Day prank, while many of them were genuinely fooled. On the next day after the prank, we contacted Adhiban, who said, "I spent the entire evening answering calls and messages and explaining to them that it was a prank. But one thing that was universally agreed by all was that the article was well written."

As the first of April dawned, we faced a conundrum at ChessBase India - should we continue with our April Fool's day tradition or not. The situation of Corona virus has made the world around us grim. With so many rumours already flying around, should we really be writing an April Fool's Day article on the ChessBase India newspage? When it comes to the 1st of April pranks, this was only the third year for ChessBase India, but for ChessBase the April Fool's Day tradition is something that editor-in-chief Frederic Friedel has indulged in since 2002. Frederic's April Fool's Day stories (we will be linking them at the end of the article) were so famous that people discussed them for years to come. Since the last couple of years, the Hamburg based writer and philosopher has given up on trying to fool his readers. His reasoning is that people come armed to the ChessBase website with Google on 1st of April and it is pretty much impossible to fool them! While Frederic is 100% right on this front, we at ChessBase India think a little differently. Our main idea is to not just fool our readers, but in doing so we want to bring a smile on their face! And this we have been able to achieve since 2018!

The 2018 prank:

Hrithik Roshan will star in the movie "Thej" which is based on the life of India's 50th GM M.S. Thejkumar was our first April Fool's Day Prank. A lot of our readers were fooled because not only was the story well thought out and we had taken care of some minute details but also because it was the first time that ChessBase India had sprung the April Fool's Day prank on its readers. You can read the entire story here. A couple of days later we published an article explaining how the idea came into being.

The 2019 prank:

In 2019 we came up with the ChessBase India Matrimony portal. The idea was to create a portal on the ChessBase India website where players with a valid FIDE ID could find their life partners! There were so many people who fell for this trick that year! I also received a call from a well-known journalist who wanted to write about it in his esteemed periodical! He said, "We usually have caste based matrimony portals, this is the first time I am seeing a profession based marriage portal!" Read more about the 2018 prank here and also more about the idea here.

The 2020 prank:

I have always been in awe of Adhiban's flambouyance. The way he always speaks his mind is something that I greatly admire. It's a very rare quality in chess players these days. As a journalist who has been interviewing chess players for over four years now, most of the times I know exactly how the interviewee will respond when a question is asked to him. However, with Adhiban, I never know what his reply would be. Sometimes he is brutally truthful, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes fearlessly aggressive! He almost seems like a misfit in the world of chess, or should I say a very welcome change of pace!


On 1st of April, I called Adhiban and said, "I want you to be featured in our April Fool's Day Prank and it will be about you being a participant at the popular TV show Bigg Boss. Adhiban thought for a while, and being the sport that he is, readily agreed! You can read the entire article here. While some of the readers instantly caught the prank, I would say we were successful in fooling at least 50% of our readers for a few minutes. Here are a few things that either people liked in the article or brought a smile on their face:

1. An interview with Deepak Dhar, the managing director of Endemol Shine India, that produces Bigg Boss, in Forbes India magazine. This was published back in 2017, but it perfectly fit in with the prose.

2. Tania Sachdev being the first choice, but giving up her spot because she couldn't miss the Gibraltar Masters 2021!

3. Vidit Gujrathi's humble, modest and good boy attitude working against him for a spot in Bigg Boss | Photo: Alina l'Ami

4. Adhiban's statement which left everyone in splits, " "The prize money of Rs 1 crore is huge. However, more than the money it is the new experience that excites me. I do not know how things will pan out, but at least I won't be removed from the house for wearing a watch!" said Adhiban tongue in cheek, referring to his watch incident earlier this year at the National Team Championships.

5. Adhiban's mother Leela teaching her son how to cook so that he can survive in the contestant's house

Of course a natural worry was how would Adhiban be a part of a Hindi reality show, when his Hindi isn't so great. That's where we introduced ChessBase India Hindi's Niklesh Jain! Their online training sessions have already begun, is how we tried to add authenticity to the story! | Photo: Angela Frank

Reader's reactions:

Last year I was almost convinced on matrimony site post and even started to fill up the form 😂😂 - Mitra Aankan


Being associated with ChessBase fraternity, I know there will be another post after a week🤣 - IM Anwesh Upadhyay


Beast will not defeat, but eat all participants so better keep him away - Jawed Ahmed


Too late to April Fool. Upcoming very competitive Indian GM can not stay away from game agreed for 100 days!! - Ashish Thatte


Hell no!! Shit shows like bigg boss don't deserve chess players🙄 - Pratik Sinha


Lol that might turn out to be worst decision of his lifetime🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️ - Prakhar


It is april fool prank isn't it. If not then why Adhiban why? - Satvik Tandon


Adhiban speaking to ChessBase India on 2nd of April said, "The main idea was to spread laughter, but instead my family members, aunts, cousins, friends etc. went into total panic mode. I spent the entire evening answering calls and messages and explaining to them that it was a prank! But one thing that was universally agreed by all was that the article was well written! I enjoyed the prank!"

AD, the beast - Always up for new challenges | Photo: Lennart Ootes

After every April Fool's prank I think to myself, what if this story actually came out to be true?! What if Rakesh Roshan does make a movie on Thejkumar's life in which Hrithik is the hero. What if we at ChessBase India actually launch a matrimony portal and what if Adhiban really makes it into Bigg Boss! Well, all I can say is that while the first two seem highly unlikely, with the Beast, nothing is impossible!


Dear readers, please enjoy our authentic chess news for the next 364 days, and be ready on the 1st of April 2021 for another prank!

April Fool's articles on ChessBase:

The Trump problem

Kimo - an intelligent approach to chess

Bareev beats Anand in Kriegspiel

The Google Tooth

Magnus Carlsen's cousin in America

Large Hadron Collider goes online - Grandmasters are worried

Vasik Rajlich busts the King's Gambit, for sure

Changing the entire layout of ChessBase newspage!

April Fool's articles on ChessBase India:

Hritik Roshan to act in 'Thej' - a Bollywood biopic on the life of India's 50th GM

Hrithik in 'Thej' - It was an April Fool's Day Joke!

The ChessBase India Matrimony Portal

ChessBase India Matrimony Portal - That was an April Fool's Prank!

Adhiban - The Beast" to make his debut in reality TV show Bigg Boss

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