15 May, 2021

The City Of Gallant Knights

Anand's triumph is a high point. But then, Chennai has long been host to the royal game.

The City Of Gallant Knights
FOR long, it has been the nursery of Indian chess, quietly nurturing the game through a slew of chess clubs and a strong playing community. And with Viswanathan Anand emerging as a world champion after winning the fide chess championship in Teheran, Chennai's fabled chess culture and skills have shot into the limelight like never before. To be sure, the Tamil Nadu capital has not only been the cradle of modern Indian chess but also gave birth to its earlier version, adu puli attam (the goat and tiger game) centuries ago. The result: out of the 25 International Masters (IM) from India, 16 are from Chennai; and of the five Grand Masters (GM) the country has produced, two, including Anand, are from the city.

How did Chennai become India's chess capital? Is it something inherent in the city's residents or does it have to do with the careful nurturing of the game here? The reasons are many. Chess players here say Anand's emergence was the biggest fillip to the game. They also remember the game's slow progress in the city. Says Murali Mohan, joint secretary of the Tamil Nadu Chess...

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