Check De, India !


There’s no point in getting into arguments about who India’s greatest Sportsman is. Those kind are just interesting talking points and blog posts. But Vishwanathan Anand’s sponsors’ NIIT call him India’s Mind Champion. Anyone feel like arguing ?

Many years ago , Anand recalls … “once I was on this train in India . One elderly gentleman sat next to me and started talking . He asked what i did . I said I am a chess player. The man was not convinced , He said yes but what do you do. Does your father own a business ? I said no I play chess . After 10 minutes the man looked me staright in the face and said “ All this chess is very nice if you can be Viswanathan Anand but you I am not sure .” After this I couldn’t get myself to tell this gentleman who I was but I realised that maybe I was on to something“…

Yesterday, Vishy Anand became World Chess Champion for the second time. This one though was a bit more special than the first in that it was undisputed. No wranglings within the FIDE about recognising various bodies , no parallel tournaments being run, no politics. A mere 70 ELO points seperating the top 8 players. And no notable absentees – yes Kramnik was there. And Anand came out of it all undefeated.

The undisputed Champion of the World.


p.s. Many years ago, a Brijnath piece on Vishy Anand. Note the part about the autobiography (“Only when I win the World Championships”) – Thats a book to have !


7 thoughts on “Check De, India !

  1. In an interview today, Anand was asked about the unfair coverage, money, fame that cricketers receive and his take on the same – His reply – ‘ I’ve nothing to say’.

    Anand now is the world No 1, World champion, World rapid champion and World blitz champion. Wow!!!

    Most sport at the world class level is not understood by the aam junta – Let me clarify.. A Federer hitting a great running back hand down the line is a great view. But very few understand the techincalities involved, the split second accuracy and the atheleticism required to pull off that point.. I don’t.. But it gives an immense visual thrill to the spectator, a dizzy high that makes the spectators ask for more.
    Chess doesn’t give one that feeling as their is no optical result of the player’s genius. All one sees is a shake of the hands at the end of the match. It’s not a spectator sport.. period.. But that doesn’t take away the global reach of the 64 squares and the extereme competition in the game.
    We have a world champion – undisputed one at that.. Lets raise a toast to him.. And not dilute this achievement by talking about why the cricketer’s get more money, media attention etc etc..

    You are the BOSS mate!!

  2. There’s almost an air of apology about the fact that Vishy Anand will get a lesser reception than the Twenty20 guys did. It seems – at least from here – that its almost like the country wants to rise to the occasion and salute a master.

    Its nice to see. But every sport has its niche.

    Anand’s amazing in that he’s maintained his hunger as the sport has gotten younger. Take a look at the rankings on the FIDE site. Born in the Summer of 69 is getting lonely ….

  3. Anand inhabits an all together saner world. He lives in the south of Spain when he’s training…. his sport doesn’t result in attacks on his home when he loses….. he doesn’t have legions of mad fans yelling and screaming at his games…

    Even more so than Cricket, Chess actually requires the viewer to pay attention 🙂

  4. Kartikeya,

    Thats exactly the difference, isnt it ? And it cuts both ways. The games are different – the preperations are – the audiences are and so will be the rewards and the trials that go with it.

    A “Shatranj ke Khiladi” will never have the same “box office” appeal as a “Lagaan” …

  5. Thanks Sfx for this lovely celbration of India’s true jewel.

    Vishy remains humble and undemanding as ever.

    I have saved Rohit Brijnath’s article in print…worth preserving.

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