If you have ever moved a chess piece in your life, you would have loved the past three weeks in the city. Two of the greatest chess players of all time, Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, were in the city, battling for the ultimate crown in world chess.
Chess has always been dear to the city. It became dearer when it produced Viswanathan Anand, the man who single-handedly spearheaded a chess revolution in the country.
Chess was in the city’s air — you could read quite a lot about the sport in newspapers; there were even full pages of it on several days. You could watch the matches on television too, for a change. And if you were at Hyatt Regency, you could even smell chess.
And chess fans in the city ensured that this was a world championship to remember.
The matches were very well attended, with people even willing to buy tickets and watch the games at the venue — as this was the first time India played host to the world championship.
The event was also very well conducted, and the organisers, led by FIDE vice-president and match director D.V. Sundar, can justifiably be proud. “The world championship was as big a success as we were expecting it to be,” said Mr. Sundar.
“Officials at FIDE, including president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, have told us that it was one of the best ever world championships. That was possible we because we had the full backing of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa,” he said.
Mr. Ilymuzhinov too, says support from the State is important for a sport like chess. “The Chief Minister was very enthusiastic about the world championship, right from the time I discussed the possibility of Chennai hosting it. I was also impressed by her initiative in introducing chess in schools,” he said.
“Chennai could have another big event in the near future,” added the FIDE president.
That is something to look forward to.