Weekend Bites: Over the moon, thaw in funding winter, India's chess moment

In which we munch over the week's platter of news and views


Artist's illustration of Chandrayaan-2 on the lunar surface (Photo: ISRO/Twitter)

Suveen Sinha New Delhi

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"India, I reached my destination and you too!" This was the message from Chandrayaan-3 after it landed on the moon.
At 6:04 pm on Wednesday, Vikram, the lander named after the Father of India's space mission, Vikram Sarabhai, set foot on the moon, an event witnessed live by millions across the globe. This is the far side of the moon we are talking about.
The story of the week is probably the story of the year already.
Story of the week
India became the fourth country — after the former USSR, the United States, and China — to soft-land on the moon, days after a Russian expedition failed. And it was the first to land on the other side of it.
“This is the dawn of new India,” Prime Minister Modi said.
The success story is filled with situations of mixed emotions, aesthetics, pain, glory, and much more.
The soft landing is an impressive demonstration of the technical prowess of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), said our editorial.
The private sector played an important part – Isro Chairman S Somanath revealed during the launch that 85 per cent of the LVM-3 rocket came from the private sector.
Enthused, startups are now aiming for the moon. Isro has already set the next phase of the Chandrayaan-3 mission rolling.
In other news…
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said the government's priority was to tame inflation to ensure sustained economic growth. Addressing the B20 Summit India, Sitharaman said the GDP numbers for the first quarter, to be released this month, should be good.
The US Federal Reserve may need to raise interest rates further to ensure inflation is contained, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Friday.
Sebi has completed its probe into whether Gautam Adani's conglomerate violated securities laws, and has recommended action in some cases for passing orders, it said in a filing to the Supreme Court on Friday.
Qatar Investment Authority will invest $1 billion in Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, the retail arm of Reliance Industries, for a 0.99 per cent stake. This values Reliance Retail at $100 billion.
Bharat NCAP, with a focus on improving vehicle safety and assisting car buyers in making informed decisions, is set to commence on October 1. With this, India becomes the fifth country to introduce its own car crash test rating system. This is welcome, but nearly not enough. The propensity for self-harm is not something Bharat NCAP can cure.
Tech that: Word from the world of technology and start-ups
Is this a sign of thaw in the so-called funding winter for startups? Quick commerce startup Zepto raised a massive $200 million at a $1.4 billion valuation to become India’s first unicorn this year.
Big Tech platforms are likely to engage with the government on the issue of parental consent for processing children’s data under the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023. The provision has raised concern about the “unintended consequences”.
Watch it: From The Morning Show
“Gaslighting” is not really a new term and owes its origin to a 1944 American movie, Gaslight, but it became popular less than a decade ago. There are others that have gained currency in recent times, such as “solutionism” and “whataboutery”. You can understand five of these terms here. On your way to this, you can dive into the woes arising from the coaching industry, the Murugappa family, and a debt market strategy. 
What is Suveen obsessing over?
Thirty-nine thousand Indians are rated chess players, which means they have played a rated tournament sometime. Ten thousand have played in a tournament within the last year. The 20th edition of the Delhi International Open attracted more than 1,000 local participants. More than 1.2 million Indians subscribe to the popular Chessbase India YouTube channel.
At the top of this pyramid, India has 83 Grandmasters, if we include the two who have completed the requirements but not yet received the formal title. More than half of these GMs are under 20.
Two Indians are in the world’s top 10, six in the top 30, and nine in the top 100. Eight Indian women are in the top 100 women’s list. Twenty-one Indians are among the world’s top 100 juniors (players under 20).
Of the top 10 Indians, three are from Chennai, which remains the epicentre of Indian chess. One each is from Nashik, Guntur, Warangal, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi, and Goa. There are clusters of Granmasters in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Kolkata and Delhi, apart from Chennai and Hyderabad.
Yes, Indian chess is having a moment. And this moment has come because of technology and affordable internet.
This is Suveen signing off. Please send tips, comments, news, or views about anything from the other side of the moon to chess prodigies to suveen.sinha@bsmail.in.
(Suveen Sinha is Chief Content Editor at Business Standard)

First Published: Aug 26 2023 | 07:30 AM IST

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