Chennai in contention to host FIDE World Championship Title match featuring Viswanathan Anand
Indian Chess is in high spirits currently as the FIDE may consider Chennai for the World Championship title chess match. This means that Viswanathan Anand might get the opportunity to defend his title against Boris Gelfand of Israel at home if all goes to plan. The AICF (All India Chess Federation) is certain that they will pip Mexico for the high prestige match-up. The match is scheduled to be played in April-May next year. This event is likely to propel Chess in India as it has been a one-man revolution so far.
The good news is to the credit of Chief Minister Jayalalitha who is a keen patron of the sport. She agreed on participating in the event as the sponsor (i.e. Tamil Nadu Government) on Wednesday. The government sanctioned a sum of Rs. 20 crore for this purpose and promised further help if required. The FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov congratulated India on this “historic” moment. He went further to say that the state government was willing to promote Chess in schools in Tamil Nadu.
Inspite of gaining more than reasonable success in the sport, the Indian media has ignored it for a period of time. There is an acute need to spread awareness about the sport through all possible mediums. A measure of greater importance shall be in rewarding our chess players. We must reserve and bequeath on them the deserved fame. This in itself will be a step towards promoting the sport as youngsters would be able to find role-models in these players.
Talking of role-models, there can be none better than Anand himself. The prospect of playing in his home-town must be tempting for him as well. He retained his title by defeating Topalov at Sofia, Bulgaria in 2010. The match was closely contested and Anand would be hoping for an easier fight against Boris Gelfand.
Chess administration in India must derive maximum possible results from this event. The bidding for the event will close on 31 July and results would be declared soon after. India head the race and Mexico are a close second. It is not clear whether a live-telecast would be arranged for the event in line with aggressive marketing for the sport in our country. The FIDE world championship title match has the potential to elevate Chess as a sport in our country and the AICF is willing to go as far as it can with its efforts. A linkup with a corporate house for this purpose has not been ruled out.