V. Kameswaran was deputy arbiter of Candidates match, held in Chennai in 1991, between Viswanthan Anand and Alexey Dreev. Anand had won then

In 1991, Hotel Trident in the city was the venue of the Candidates match — a qualifier for the world championship — between Alexey Dreev and a certain Viswanthan Anand.

Now, 22 years later, the city is hosting the world championship title match. Chennai has come a long way. Just like Anand. He had won that match against Dreev.

V. Kameswaran, who was the deputy arbiter of the match two decades ago, is hoping Anand will be the winner this time around too.

“I have known Anand since he was a very young boy and have gone with him on tours as a manager or coach,” says Kameswaran, India’s first international arbiter.

“I was there when he played at the world junior championship in 1984. I was present at the Candidates event in 1991 in Brussels. I am fortunate to have accompanied Anand in various capacities — as coach, arbiter and journalist,” he says.

The 70-year-old says he is not surprised Anand has become world champion. “Even when he lost to Anatoly Karpov, I knew he would become champion one day,” he says. “I think it is fantastic that he has won the world title on five occasions. I am sure he will win his sixth here.”

He says Anand’s contribution to chess in the city has been phenomenal. “It is because of him you see so many young kids learning the game,” he says. “Many children, including my son, K. Visweswaran, took up chess after seeing Anand scoring major victories as a youngster. He lowered the average age of chess players in the city considerably.”

Kameswaran is delighted so many young children are coming to watch the match at Hyatt Regency. “The 1991 match against Dreev too was watched by many people, but not these many kids were present then,” says Kameswaran, who is wearing the hat of a journalist for this world championship match.

More In: Chennai | News | Sports