#PowerlessQueen: Nanhi Kali & WATConsult design a special game of Chess to illustrate the importance of girl child education

The first player’s Queen’ is designed to be ‘powerless’ and does not move at all, Viewers have been urged to take up the #PowerlessQueen challenge hosted on a microsite


Chess, the ancient game of strategy, decides the fate of the king. The two-player strategy game played on a checkered gameboard has 16 pieces each: a king, a queen, two each of knights, bishops and rooks, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn.

Having originated in India in the 6th century, Chess was a reflection of the power play in that time. The Queen, the most powerful could make or break a kingdom, or checkmate the king in a game of chess. But, what happens when she the most powerful is rendered powerless?

What happens when the symbol of strength is no longer a force to reckon with. The king is captured. A kingdom is lost. Much like the times we live in today – our girls are powerless, our society has lost.

This sad analogy forms the core of a hard hitting Women’s Day campaign – Powerless Queen’. It proves how a society fails when it leaves its ‘Queens’ helpless and feeble, through an online game of Chess, designed with a twist. The first player’s Queen’ is designed to be ‘powerless’ and does not move at all while the second player’s ‘Queen’ has all her powers.

The innovative campaign has been launched by Project Nanhi Kali in partnership with WATConsult, the digital and social media agency from Dentsu Aegis Network India. Project Nanhi Kali founded by Anand Mahindra, Chairman Mahindra Group, works towards the education of underprivileged girls. A sponsorship support programme allows individuals to participate and support the education of a girl child in India.

‘Powerless Queen’ launched on Women’s Day sought to drive donations for Project Nanhi Kali and has Tania Sachdev, an Indian chess player who holds The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE, also known as World Chess Federation) titles of The International Master and The Woman Grandmaster to helm the campaign.

The Woman Grandmaster urges viewers to win a game of chess armed with a ‘Powerless Queen’, in this digital video tying up the state of girls in India who are just as ‘powerless’ as the Queen here.

Powerless Queen

See what happens when you take away the power from the most powerful piece on the chess board! Take the #PowerlessQueen Challenge – www.powerlessqueen.com. With Project Nanhi Kali we #EducateTheGirlChild & empower the queens of tomorrow.

Project Nanhi Kaliさんの投稿 2018年3月7日(水)

The microsite with its simple design houses the digital version of the Chess game. It illustrates impactfully how one cannot win when the queen is stripped of her power. One can choose to donate to the cause or share the challenge through social sharing buttons.

Stalwarts from the world of Indian chess and celebrities have also supported the campaign. Indian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand; two-time United States Women’s Champion and the FIDE title holder of Woman Grandmaster, Jennifer Shahade; renowned Indian fashion photographer, Atul Kasbekar; Russian-born Dutch Chess Grandmaster, Anish Giri and many more tweeted about the campaign and help spread the word.

Three times Hungarian chess champion, Anna Rudolf has actually recorded herself taking the #PowerlessQueen challenge and shared it on her YouTube channel.

With all the conversations around the campaign, the hashtag began trending on Twitter on Women’s Day. Within couple of days of the launch, Nanhi Kali received donation to fund 40,000 hours of girl child education.

Simple. Innovative. Call-to-Action.

For a cause-driven campaign whose sole purpose is to drive online donations, it is tough to catch the attention of the audience on social media, and also sustain that attention to drive home its point. And when the occasion is as popular as Women’s Day, with nearly every brand worth its women employees clogging up the social media pipelines with tribute media pieces to women, it gets increasingly complex to be seen, to be listened to and to drive a meaningful call-to-action.

The ‘#PowerlessQueen’ has addressed this to effect with its simple yet innovative concept. Who would have thought of a connection between chess and girl education! The online game with its purposeful twist, exemplifies our society stripped of its power, thus highlighting the cause of girls’ education. The #PowerlessQueen campaign is an effective message wrapped in a simple way that one just can’t ignore on Women’s Day.