For Chess Lovers, this is the Best Time to be in Chennai

World Champion Anand vs World Number One Magnus Carlsen

I was in Chennai last month for a few days. But I wish I was there now, with Viswanathan Anand all set to begin his title defence against world number 1, Magnus Carlsen of Norway. Carlsen, at 22, is just about half of Anand’s age.

Chennai plays host to the FIDE World Championship that unfolds there with Round 1 on Saturday (November 9). It was inaugurated on Thursday evening

A women’s grandmaster tournament is also being held there, having been kicked off on November 6. Five women grandmasters and many international masters from around the world are participating in it. Nisha Mohota is the top-ranked player among Indians.

Chennai is India’s chess capital having produced the country’s first international master (Manuel Aaron) and its first Grandmaster and world champion (Anand). Even India’s first Women’s Grandmaster S Vijayalakshmi is from Tamil Nadu.

I started playing chess because of the sheer brilliance of Bobby Fischer and the tantrums he threw during the 1972 world championship when he dethroned Boris Spassky. The 2013 Anand-Carlsen clash can be expected to give the game a further boost in Chennai and India.

The good thing about Carlsen is that he goes for a win all the time, hardly content with boring draws. Anand is an attacking player as well consistently going for the kill though easy draws for him of late are not uncommon. When equals play it will be unrealistic to expect decisive results in every game!

It will be an exciting championship for sure!

As a student, I have watched Anand play at the Tal Chess Club where I was a regular. My brother has even played in the same tournaments as Anand (Bertram at Loyola is one) when the latter was a young kid surprising all with lightning chess.

Anand, for obvious reasons, is my favourite!

Joslin Vethakumar


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