Anand celebrated his birthday on Thursday
AICF honoured the champion with a diamond ring
CHENNAI: “It is always wonderful to come back to your country and experience the appreciation of your efforts,” said World chess champion Viswanathan Anand at the Taj Coromandel here on Thursday.
Anand was speaking at a function organised by the All India Chess Federation to honour his recent victory over Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany that helped him retain the world crown.
Addressing India’s cricket captain M.S. Dhoni, who grinned broadly as he slipped a one-carat diamond ring on the chess player’s finger, Anand remarked: “I think I will accept the ring in a spirit of brotherhood.”
He also wished Dhoni and the Indian cricket team luck in their ongoing encounter against England. “Good luck for the next four days, though I hope it gets over in three,” he said.
Earlier, Dhoni waxed eloquent on Anand’s achievement. “Every sport needs an icon, and I cannot think of a better person than Anand in chess.
“If youngsters have a role model like him, there is no reason for them to not succeed,” he said.
Dhoni also said that Anand’s triumph was a great occasion for the entire country and that he was “honoured to share the dais” with such a phenomenal achiever. “But I will beat him at chess if he plays left-handed,” he quipped. The AICF and TNCA president N. Srinivasan said it was not often that a country or city could lay claim on a talent as exquisite as Anand’s.
“One is amazed at his ability to retain focus and attention despite all these years. What is even more laudable is that he has always been a very humble person,” he added.
AICF secretary D.V. Sundar said Anand was “the only Indian who had kept the country in contention at the international level for nearly two decades”.
The chess player was also presented bouquets by Indian chess champions in various age categories.
Along with his wife Aruna, he also cut a ceremonial cake to mark his 40th birthday. Cricketer Rahul Dravid was also present on the occasion.
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