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

by Sagar Shah - 06/04/2019

On 1st of April we released an article about the ChessBase India Matrimony Portal - a unique service offered by ChessBase India to the chess community, so that you can find your life partner who is also a chess player! While some of the people caught the story instantly as an April Fool's Day prank, many of the readers were fooled. Some of them even said that this was a great idea and should be implemented. In this article, we tell you all about ChessBase's tradition of April Fool's Day pranks and also the reason why we, at ChessBase India, indulge in 1st of April jokes. Lastly we want the chess community to understand the marrying a chess player is not the only way in which you can have a wonderful chess career, and so you will find many success stories in the article of chess players who tied the knot with someone who understood nothing about chess! 

ChessBase has a long-standing April Fool's Day tradition, with their former editor-in-chief Frederic Friedel being the man who loved to pull up one prank after another each year. We will let you know some of his best pranks at the end of this article. This year, however, ChessBase decided that it was not a good idea to publish an article related to the April Fool's Day prank because the internet is already littered with fake news. So, we at ChessBase India decided to continue the tradition. Last year, we published an article about Hrithik Roshan acting in a Bollywood movie Thej - based on the life of India's 50th GM Thejkumar. Many of the people who were aware that it is the first of April caught this prank, but those who came to ChessBase India to read the news just like any other day fell for the joke! In any case, even the people who understood that this was April fool's prank enjoyed reading the article. This is exactly what I wanted to achieve in 2019 as well. It didn't matter that people would catch April Fool's Prank immediately, what mattered was that the article showed be amusing and should bring a smile on the reader's face! Yes, 364 days in a year we indulge in authentic news reporting. We feel that it is fine if we publish one light-hearted article in a year!


And so the thinking began. How should I try my best to come up with an April Fool's Prank. We (Amruta and I) had a lot of interesting topics, but the one that we finally agreed upon was the ChessBase India Matrimony Portal. The basic premise was that ChessBase India has done just about everything in its three years of existence to power chess in India. We are now taking this one step further with the ChessBase India Matrimony Portal, because we feel that a chess player marrying a fellow chess player has a positive impact on their game! In order to prove the point, we went on to show the examples of 13 couples which included Viji-Sriram, Raghavi-Vishnu, Nadezda-Hari, and even international couples like Sopiko-Anish, Alina-Erwin and Arianne-Aronian. You can read the entire article here.

The thumbnail for the article was carefully created by Amruta!

In order to have the "humour element" we put up a google form at the end of the article! We asked the players to write about their favourite openings and whether they liked endgame or not and also their favourite chess books. The reason? - a player who has 1.d4 repertoire should try to marry a player with 1.e4 repertoire! In that way your opening repertoire grows seamlessly. A tactical player would enjoy being in a positional player's company and so on! This is where we thought that everyone would catch the prank, but the funny thing is that we received 26 submissions for this form! While some of them caught the prank and wrote funny answers, a lot of the forms had serious answers! I would not like to reveal any names here, but it was quite a lot of fun going through these forms. 

To make it look more authentic we told you that a new tab would come up on our front page!

While all of the Google forms related humour was fine, what gave us the biggest feeling of satisfaction was a news reporter calling us and asking us more information about the Matrimony Portal because he found this story worthy enough to be published in his esteemed publication! His explanation was, "We have had caste based matrimonial sites for years, but never a profession based site! This is the start of something new and exciting!" Along with the satisfaction came the poignant thought - is the Matrimonial portal something that we should seriously indulge in? We got comments from some well know chess personalities as well:


GM Sriram Jha: Sagar, I would have really thought of it as one more brilliant initiative by you, had you not published this article today. But you can seriously think about it. This has the potential to be more popular than the traditional matrimony portals!


Peter Long: Obviously April Fool but maybe also a good idea!


Dharmen Shah: Seeing so many successful Chess couples seems learning Chess and then marrying a chess player is a necessary ingredient for a happy married life!


Here are some more funny comments that we received:

Srinivasa Rangan (popular chess coach): Oh! It's a prank! For a moment you got me excited, Thought I will apply although I am married once.


Rajinikanth (father of D.Gukesh): Hi Sagar..i have FIDE id and rating.. So I can enroll too naπŸ˜‰ application as genuine as the article!


Shubhada Bhadade-Dane (a chess mother): Unimaginable Prank πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I was going to tag a batchelor friend. πŸ™ˆ I read entire article, and suddenly remembered the "movie" prank of last year. Thank God I am saved from embarrassment.

A chess matrimony portal?

So, the question after the April Fool's prank was - is chess matrimony portal a good idea? Well, in the first article I wrote how two chess players coming together creates synergy. Well, here I would like to mention some of the chess players who married non-chess players and have achieved something truly phenomenal.

Vishy Anand and Aruna Anand!

This one example is enough to convince you that as a chess player, you do not need a fellow chess player for marriage. When Vishy Anand married Aruna, she had hardly any knowledge about the sport. But in the subsequent years, she played such an essential role in Anand's chess career as his manager, that it would have been difficult for Vishy to reach these heights without Aruna's support. Aruna's role as Anand's manager gave Vishy 100% time to focus on his chess. He did not have to worry about invitations, contracts, sponsorships, press coverage etc. All of it was done by Aruna and she ensured that Vishy not only became a five-time World Champion, but also one of the most valuable brands in the Indian sporting industry.

Sasikiran's wife Radhika is not a chess player, yet travels with Sasi to some of his tournaments. For eg. the above picture was taken at the Batumi Olympiad 2018. We also know that Radhika helps Sasikiran in many ways to become a stronger chess player.

Surya Sekhar Ganguly is one of India's finest GMs and his wife Sudeshna is a Ph.D! Sudeshna hardly understands chess, but one look at her during the Tata Steel Chess India rapid and blitz event held in Kolkata, and you realize how much she cares for Surya's results. Her eyes would be glued to Ganguly's board for the entire duration and a win for her husband would make her happy beyond measure!

Just recently married, but already Abhijeet Gupta coming together with Aditi has helped him bring out some of his best chess. Aditi, like Aruna, Radhika and Sudeshna doesn't understand chess to a great extent. But more than chess, she gives Abhijeet the emotional support that he requires to perform to his highest level.

D. Anvesh is Humpy's husband. Anvesh is the Project Director (R&D) of Effectronics private limited! No chess connectio there! But today Humpy has made a comeback to chess after having becoming a mother. This cannot be possible without your husband's support.

It's been a few months since Harika and Karteek, a Hyderabad based businessman, have married each other and Harika has been moving from strength to strength. She recently received the Padma Shri award, the fourth highest civilian award in India, and Karteek couldn't have been happier

Tania Sachdev with her husband Viraj Kataria (right) and his family. Tania is one of the most versatile personalities in the chess world. She is a strong chess player, but also a host at mega events like Gibraltar Masters, Commentator at world class events and also a brand ambassador of Redbull. All of this is quite impossible without the support of her better half! 

The story of WGM Swati Ghate is quite fascinating. Amit, her husband, read about Swati's chess exploits before their marriage and became a huge fan of her. Later on they met each other and Amit revealed to Swati that he knew what a well accomplished chess player she was! Amit's support to Swati's career exists right from the time they got married. The fact that Swati is still trying for IM title and beyond (after 11 years of marriage), is only because Amit believes in her talent. And yes, Amit doesn't understand chess!

So just like we could go and on about how chess players marrying fellow chess players is wonderful for their career, we could go on endlessly about chess players and non chess players coming together and achieving something special in the chess world. At the risk of sounding cliched, I would like to say that the most critical ingredient is the "Love" that is shared by the partners. The feeling of genuine care and affection is more important than the profession. Once your partner cares about you, it is obvious that he/she would care for your ambitions as well. And then how does it matter if your partner is a chess player or not! Yes, a chess player might help you with a novelty here and there, but nothing that Komodo or Houdini cannot already assist you with!


I am married to a chess player and while I spoke quite highly about the union of two chess players, I can also share with you some of the downsides. Because your partner understands chess so well, you can never fool him/her by saying that you played a great game of chess, when you haven't! Sometimes the environment becomes too uni-dimensional - an overdose of chess. You want to talk about a different subject and break away from chess for sometime but you realize there is no real other topic to speak about! Chess has become your life!

And yes, the biggest drawback of marrying a chess player - you have to face him/her in chess tournaments!

A big thank you to the ChessBase India readers:

It's a great feeling when you try to fool your readers and they take it in the right spirit. It feels as if the time and energy that the entire ChessBase India team has invested in building up a readership has resulted in us having not just chess loving readers, but also chess fans with an excellent sense of humour. We promise to report the facts and bring you all the accurate coverage from the chess world for the next 364 days, but then be ready for our next prank on 1st of April 2020!

For all those who have missed the 2018 April Fool's Day prank, you can read it over here:

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

Hrithik in Thej, it was an April Fool's Day joke!


Read our 2019 prank: The ChessBase India Matrimony portal

Some of the best ChessBase pranks by Frederic Friedel

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!

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