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The Best and The Brightest of 2023



Age 15 | Junior
BASIS Chandler
Sandeep Sethuraman is an avid chess player. When the world shut down in March 2020 due to COVID-19, Sandeep saw a need to grow the game in the State of Arizona by starting online tournaments and tutoring. In 2021, he created The Chess Effect and set out to make chess accessible to anyone who wanted to play.

“Chess can be an expensive sport,” said Sethuraman. “Some private coaches can cost $100-200 per hour and that means many children who would like to learn, simply can’t afford it. I wanted to remove the barriers for people and started offering free lessons.”

He organized two online chess tournaments and selected Arizona Helping Hands, a nonprofit that provides essentials to children in foster care, as the beneficiary of the funds. In the past two years, 50-60 new players have participated in each online tournament, and he’s donated over $2,000 to Arizona Helping Hands.

“I have taught more than 70 kids to play chess,” said Sethuraman. “It’s really rewarding to see all of them improving and many of them going on to win tournaments. The Chess Effect has given them an opportunity they may not have had.”

Sandeep has been captain of his high school chess team since he entered 9th grade and has led the school team to two national championship runners-up, two AIA state championship winners, and one AIA state championship runner-up. Since he became captain of the team three years ago, he has increased participation by 300%. Sandeep is the 2nd highest rated active chess player in Arizona and the 2nd highest nationally ranked player for 15-year-olds.

When he is not playing chess, Sandeep is on the high school basketball team and enjoys tutoring other students in math. He plans to pursue a business degree in college and hopes to continue his work with The Chess Effect. His goal is to expand his free lessons and get more teachers on board, as well as hold more fundraisers in the future.
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