Mumbai Sport

Anand invited to draw up plans for universities

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand  

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India’s first and most famous chess Grandmaster, Viswanathan Anand, was invited by Maharashtra Governor, CH Vidyasagar Rao, to draw up a plan to teach the sport to university students across the State.

The latter was addressing a gathering of chess players and sports personalities at a felicitation function for the Indian chess wizard. Anand was presented with the Hridaynath award by the famous music composer, under the aegis of Hridayesh Arts. The Governor said: “I am the Chancellor and have 20 universities under me. I am inviting you to draw up a plan for chess lessons to university students. It will lay a strong foundation for their academic career and keep them engaged in useful thinking,” said Rao, following a felicitation for the five-time world chess champion by an organisation headed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

“We have 20 universities, grand heritage buildings, intelligent students and brainy professors. They will benefit from your guidance in chess, a sport which I believe is useful for academics.”

Warangal jail was his first exposure to chess, revealed the Governor, hastening to add that in this era of scams, youngsters must know that he was jailed during the Emergency for a year with other leaders. “One year is a long in time in jail, you know,” said Rao. I learnt a bit of chess and after coming out of jail, asked my son to play with me. He would defeat me every time, saying that on the chess board he would not take a step back.”

The Governor added: “My son went on to excel in studies and I realised that the sport can do wonders for students.”

GM Anand was greeted in the traditional Maharashtrian way, with a pheta (headgear) placed on his head as a gesture of respect given to family elders and distinguished persons. He was garlanded, and a shawl was wrapped around his shoulders. The Hridaynath award was presented along with a cheque for Rs 2 lakh, and a 3D chess board.

Anand said: “I liked the ceremony. The 3D chess board is an unique gift. Seeing so many chess players, former champions, and current generation is a delight. I look forward to meeting you.”

Dronacharya Raghunandan Gokhale, Grandmasters Pravin Thipsay, Bhagyashree Thipsay, Anupama Gokhale, and Rohini Khadilkar were among the noted chess personalities called up on stage for the felicitation at the hands of Aamir Khan, self-confessed chess enthusiast and a fan of India’s first GM, a recipient of Padma Vibushan and Khel Ratna award for sporting excellence by the Indian government. Hockey ace Dhanraj Pillay and shooting queen Anjali Bhagwat (both Khel Ratna awardees from Maharashtra) were honoured, apart from others from diverse sports.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 4:01:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/sport/viswanathan-anand-invited-to-draw-up-plans-for-universities/article8468072.ece

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