For teen chess whiz, the game is more about giving than winning

Prateek Pinisetti, a West Chandler resident, created the Chess Helps tournament to help teachers at his school and to help alleviate poverty.
Prateek Pinisetti, a West Chandler resident, created the Chess Helps tournament to help teachers at his school and to help alleviate poverty.

As summer break comes to a close, many students may be savoring one last getaway trip. Not Prateek Pinisetti, who soon will begin his sophomore year at the charter school he attends in Chandler.

Instead, he is focused on the promotion of the second annual Chess Helps tournament on Saturday, Aug. 29, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending about 4:30 p.m., at his school at 1800 E. Chandler Blvd.

It’s an event he created to combine his love of chess with raising money for two causes he believes are worthy—to benefit teachers at his school, and for KIVA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to alleviate poverty by lending funds to small-business start ups.

Pinisetti, who will be 15 in September, developed an early penchant for chess and was already a veteran in several tournaments when he thought of the idea for Chess Help.

“I wanted to help the school and the community, and what better avenue than chess, since I had played in several tournaments and knew how it works,” Prateek said.

“So after planning it out, in the eighth grade, I started the first Chess Help tournament in August 2014 and it was a great success. In total, we raised about $9,000, of which $6,000 went to the school and $3,000 went to KIVA.”

Prateek’s event also attracted a good mix of fellow chess enthusiasts.

“We had 135 players who participated last year, of all ages and skill levels. So it is a strong tournament for the serious chess player, but also fun for the casual player,” said Prateek.

He says that this year’s tournament will be the same—open to all who want to show up and play, regardless of age or skill level.

As for his selection of the non-profit KIVA, he said he first became aware of the organization through an Internet search. He was impressed with the mission of KIVA.

“I knew I would give a portion of the funds to my school but I also wanted to give to communities in need,” said Prateek.

“I picked Kiva because it helps self-sustain people in need, to give them a hand to propel forward—but not make them dependent on handouts. It gives them independence and a sense of achievement, and instills confidence in their future.

“KIVA is not a typical charity,” explained Prateek. “It is a micro-lending organization that works with international partners to give small loans to impoverished people around the world.”

The loans give individual entrepreneurs the capital to start a small business, get an education or achieve a similar goal. According to KIVA statistics, 98 percent of loans are repaid, which allows for further loans to take place.

By giving back through the chess program, Prateek says “he feels better inside” and he wanted to support his charter school’s teachers.

Registration and costs details are available on-line at www.events4chess.com

For questions on the event, call Radhika Guruju at 480-747-0222 or send an email to chesshelps@gmail.com

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