Chennai, March 16: Legendary Viswanathan Anand says it's a proud moment for Chennai and the chess fraternity in the country as the capital city of Tamil Nadu has been chosen to host the Chess Olympiad, later this year.
The 44th Olympiad, which was supposed to take place in Moscow, was shifted out of Russia in the aftermath of its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on February 24. The prestigious event is tentatively scheduled to be held between July 26 and August 8.
State Chief Minister M K Stalin himself announced the news on twitter late on Tuesday (March 15) night after Chennai was awarded the right to host the prestigious event for the fist time ever.
"Thank you sir for making Chennai all about chess ! A proud moment for all of Indian and Chennai chess community. Chennai Chess ... always has a nice ring to it. The efforts of @aicfchess and @FIDE_chess in working together so swiftly is to be commended," Anand wrote, reacting Stalin's tweet.
Thank you sir for making Chennai all about chess ! A proud moment for all of Indian and Chennai chess community. Chennai Chess … always has a nice ring to it. The efforts of @aicfchess and @FIDE_chess in working together so swiftly is to be commended. https://t.co/UB6jIfKW5T— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) March 15, 2022
"Delighted that the Chess Capital of India is set to host the 44th Chess Olympiad! A proud moment for Tamil Nadu! Chennai warmly welcomes all the Kings and Queens from around the world! #ChessOlympiad2022," Stalin wrote.
World chess federation FIDE tweeted, "Chennai is home to legendary @vishy64theking, and it hosted the 2013 World Championship Match, where Magnus Carlsen was first crowned World Champion, defeating Vishy Anand."
The former world champion reacted to that too, writing, "Like we say Vanakkam Chennai !!" Anand had also sent a letter to the FIDE in which he said that it was a sense of personal pride to see the country being a host to one of the top events in the calendar.
Like we say Vanakam Chennai !! https://t.co/bHxcQKTlx4— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) March 15, 2022
The All India Chess Federation (AICF) Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, who is also a Chairman of the FIDE Technical Commission (TEC), felt they already have experience of hosting big events and it should help them.
"The experience with Delhi Chess Open, the largest event of its kind in the world, will be a big help, as we have already dealt with large numbers. But the Olympiad is a big game. I am sure we will make it the best," he was quoted as saying by the FIDE website.
Noted coach V Saravanan, an International Master, said, "An excellent development, fantastic achievement by the Federation to secure the tournament for India. Second thing, it is being held in Chennai, obviously the chess capital of India."
"I am sure for the infrastructure we have here and the organisational capacity, I think we can pull it off. Fantastic news for the chess players and the chess community as well," he added.
Many chess lovers felt that it was apt that Chennai gets to host the Olympiad given the stature the city enjoys as a cradle for the mind-game in the country.
The chess Olympiad would be the second major world event to be held in the country after the World Championship Match in 2013 between Anand and Norwegian Carlsen, the current world No.1.