Will the White Knight rise again?
By S Rajesh – CHENNAI
Published: 19th October 2013 06:41 PM
Last Updated: 19th October 2013 06:42 PM

Nimzo Indian Defence, Najdorf Variation, Queens Gambit, Caro-Kann. What pray are these? Could these be scientific terminologies or names of comets?

Come November, India’s youngsters will be querying and discussing the aforementioned terms, which relate to some of the openings that might be employed in the FIDE World Championship match between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and the ‘challenger’ Magnus Carlsen.

Chess may not be as spectator-friendly a sport as cricket, football or tennis but the organisers are leaving no stone unturned to popularise it.

Manuel Aaron, India’s first chess player of repute, praised the initiatives of the Tamil Nadu government, “It’s great to see that the World Championships will be held in Anand’s hometown and it will generate more interest in the game. The spectators can now watch the two chess players in person, see the moves live on screen, hear the commentary and also follow the analysis by top GMs. This would certainly be quite a treat for chess aficionados.”

In the 1980s, a kid named Anand was making his foray into chess, idolising a certain Bobby Fischer. He became India’s youngest GM in 1988 at 18 (eclipsed since by Pendyala Harikrishna and then Parimarjan Negi), after which many kids, inspired by his exploits made their way to the sport assuring TN’s place at the summit of Indian chess. Now, TN boasts of 12 Grandmasters.

Nearly 25 years later, the colossus of Indian chess continues to inspire a second generation of upcoming players.

Anand, who first ascended the unified World Championship throne in 2007 at 37, has been reigning ever since. Interestingly, GM RB Ramesh, who had taken up chess after being inspired by Anand, bowed out of competitive chess five years ago and has started a chess school.

So what impact would holding such an important match in India have? GM and India’s No 4 Krishnan Sasikiran, only the second Indian to top the 2700 Elo rating mark, opined that the match would definitely attract a lot of kids who would love to see their hero in action at close quarters.

Ramesh concurred, saying that Anand was a role model for kids and they were excited to get the chance to see him.
While Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement should divert some attention away from this clash, India will be eagerly awaiting the battle.

If Anand retains his title, it could encourage another revolution, similar to the one led by the ‘White Knight’ himself in the 80s. If so, another golden period awaits Indian chess.

Source: http://newindianexpress.com

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