Anand to defend title in Chennai, chess players elated

Chennai, April 8 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Monday said the state would host the World Chess Championship this November between reigning champion from India Viswanathan Anand and the challenger, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen.

Elated by the announcement, the chess fraternity here hailed the state government’s decision.

Making the announcement in the assembly, Jayalalithaa said: “Considering that Tamil Nadu had come forward to hold the 2012 World Chess Championship, the World Chess Federation (WCF) had requested us to hold the contest this year in Chennai without any bidding.”

She said the state government, accepting the request, has decided to allocate Rs.29 crore for the holding of the 2013 championship November 6-26.

Jayalalithaa said five-time World Champion Anand – who hails from Tamil Nadu – will defend his title against Norway’s Carlsen.

She said the hosting of the tournament will spur the youth to take up this sport and give a boost to the development of many chess players.

Jayalalithaa said she had agreed to the request of WCF chief Kirsan Illyumzhinov to hold the 2012 world title tournament in Chennai at an outlay of Rs.20 crore.

However, as Russia submitted a higher bid, the tournament was held there in 2012, Jayalalithaa added.

“The holding of world chess title contest here will result in a second chess revolution in the country. The first one happened when Anand started winning world titles as a junior and many students took to chess after that,” S. Sujatha, former Tamil Nadu women’s chess champion told IANS.

“It will be great to see our hero Anand in action on home soil,” she added.

Agreeing with her, chess grandmaster R.B. Ramesh said a huge awareness about chess will be created in the state because of the world title contest being held here.

“Playing on home soil may be an advantage, and also a disadvantage. It might add pressure on the player,” Ramesh said.

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