Anand felicitated on his 39th birthday

12/13/2008 – The World Champion Viswanathan Anand was born on December 11 1969. Last Thursday he turned 39, in the town of his birth, Chennai, India. Such an occasion cannot pass uncelebrated, and the All India Chess Federation arranged a worthy celebration for the All India Sporting hero. From the captain of the Indian cricket team Anand received a diamond ring. Pictorial report by Arvind Aaron.

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Anand Felicitated In A Grand Manner

The greatest chess champion of the world, three time champion, Viswanathan Anand was felicitated by the
All India Chess Federation in a manner nobody did before on his 39th birthday. In the ceremony that took
place at the Ball Room of Taj Coromandel on Nungambakkam High Road, Chennai, on December 11, 2008,
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain of the Indian cricket team gave Anand a diamond ring on behalf of the All
India Chess Federation.


Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain of the Indian cricket team gives Anand...


... a one one-carat diamond ring

Huge crowds came for the ceremony and most of them were chess players and the Indian cricket test
players led by Rahul Dravid also showed up. In this ceremony N. Srinivasan, President of the AICF, who
presided said, "in a country which is ruled by cricket, on that day (when he beat Kramnik) the nation's
attention was on you. We would love to relive that day. We are truly proud of you. In my short term
(President of AICF since 2001) as President of the AICF you have won twice. We would be happy to do this
felicitation over and over again." When Anand won the World Title in 2007 at Mexico, Rahul Dravid, captain
of the Indian cricket team was the chief guest and handed a trophy to Anand.


Blowing out the candles on the birthday cake. On the left is Anand's mother Susheela, next to her GM Dibyendu Barua, then Anand's wife Aruna (in the turquoise sari), and on the right behind Anand his father Viswanathan. On the right world under-12 champion Sayantan Das.


Anand distributes cake to friends and visitors...


... and gets a piece himself from cricket captain Dhoni

When the Indian cricket team walked in, the media jumped to their feet. When Anand entered the hall, it
became noisy and the 1000 audience clapped as he occupied his chair. When Anand and Dhoni greeted
each other with a handshake, the flash lights were like lightning side the Taj. The ceremony was brief and
complete by 40 minutes. The hall was full despite the short notice and all visitors were frisked and checked
and had to go through the metal detector after what had happened in Mumbai on Nov 26.


The packed house for Anand's birthday celebration (in the front row his wife, mother and father)

"It is a happy moment not only for chess players but also for other sportsmen. I understand that the younger
Indians are winning by drawing their inspiration from Anand. I am honoured to share the dais with you," said
Dhoni about Anand. The diamond ring is said to be worth half a million Indian Rupees.


Anand speaks to the audience and visitors

In his reply to felicitations, Anand said, he accepted the diamond ring from Dhoni is brotherhood. Anand
thanked N. Srinivasan, President, AICF, for the active support for chess and this grand reception. D.V.
Sundar welcomed the gathering and gave one of the most interesting speeches and introductions of chess
players to the cricketers.

Later, the AICF arranged a dinner for the world champion and his family at Raintree Hotel in south Chennai.
Here, many Indian age group champions and titled players got access to Anand. Among those who were
present were GM Barua, GM Sasikiran, GM Ganguly, GM Ramesh, GM Deepan Chakravarthy, GM Arun
Prasad, first IM Manuel Aaron, first IA V. Kameswaran etc. Officials and chess administrators, AICF Vice
President Sameer Salgaocar, AICF Treasurer Bharat Singh Chauhan, AICF Secretary D.V. Sundar and
officials from around India were present. From the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association, President P.R.
Venketrama Raja, Vice President J.C.D. Prabhakar, Secretary K. Muralimohan etc were present.


Anand with WIM Kruttika Nadig (left) and WGM Mary Ann Gomes (right).

At the start of the dinner, Anand cut two cakes for his 39th birthday and certainly it was the most
memorable birthday of his life. He also personally handed over cake slices to young talents like WGM Mary
Ann Gomes, WIM Kruttika Nadig, World Under-12 champion Sayantan Das etc. December 11, 2008 will be
one of the most memorable days in Indian chess for a long time to come.

By Arvind Aaron for the All India Chess Federation website


"I will beat him in chess if he plays left-handed"

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 said: "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.



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