The Homecoming – Anand arrives in Chennai

by ChessBase
10/18/2007 – The new world chess champion, Viswanathan Anand, hails from Madras in South India, a city today known as Chennai. After a brief sojourn in Delhi Anand at last flew into his home town, where he was awaited by tens of thousands of fans. It was not easy to get shots of the champion in the throng. Our reporter Arvind Aaron did his best and presents visual impressions.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The Homecoming – Anand in Chennai

Report by Arvind Aaron

Anand, India's sporting hero, was due to arrive in Chennai on Wednesday afternoon. The crowds at the airport defied imagination. It wasn't possible to get close to the champion without fighting your way through a sea of fans and press people. I managed to garland him, wading through people with a 15 kg rose garland. But on the whole I concentrated on catching the atmosphere of the fans that had gathered to welcome the new world champion.

Young boys and girls thronged the airport with the Indian tri-colour already at 10.30 a.m. Anand's flight landed at Chennai at 13.50, after a slight delay

One of the many welcome signs prepared for the arrival of Anand in Chennai

Anand has always stood up for the handicapped,
and says they are close to his heart. Now, they show
their thanks to him by with an airport vigil.

The horns and drums made us forget that we were in the airport, as we no longer heard any planes, just the sound these people made to receive the new chess king

Ninety-year-old Bhau Padsalgikar (right), a former national player and veteran organiser, had made it all the way from Maharashtra to meet Anand.

School boys from Zion Matriculation stand patiently in the background, unable to compete with the massive crowd that has collected around Anand. Even some photographers and videographers decide to film from atop a bus rather than jostle with the throng.

Velammal School girls wait with flowers to greet the world champion as the mercury sours to 36°C at the Chennai airport

Anand's mother Sushila Viswanathan together with Anand's
aunt and Madras High Court Judge Prabha Sridevan

Upcoming chess player Prasanna Rao (centre) of Mumbai and his mother pose together with International Arbiter R.R.Vasudevan. They were among the people who did not get to meet Anand, as tens of thousands of people were trying to do it at the same.

India's high profile chess couple, strongest GM pair R.B. Ramesh and WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy with their daughter Varsha (sleeping). Next to them is the Sports Editor of Indian Express Harihara Nandanan.

Ahead of the convoy, former world Under-2 champion N. Srinath with his father Narayanan riding the bike. Pic was taken opposite Shangri-La, Anand's favourite Chinese restaurant at Besant Nagar. Beside them is Indian National Coach and trainer Vishveswaran Kameshwaran, (with an Anand T-shirt from NIIT).

The first car of the Anand Chariot Convoy, with IM Manuel Aaron, 72, who is the General Secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association. He carried the Commissioner of Chennai Police order granting permission for such a procession in Chennai city. In the same car is journalist Sakthi. Behind this was the police patrol car followed by a police tow vehicle to remove any other cars which might be blocking Anand's route.

Anand's dressed up limousine gets ready to leave. He is driven from the airport to Trident for a brief lunch and then on to Kasturba Nagar from where the procession took him five kms to his house on a chariot.

World champion Viswanathan Anand is transported in a special chariot to his home

One part of the half a kilometre long convoy entering the street where the legend lives in Chennai

The convoy reaches Anand's house

AICF Secretary D.V.Sundar (blue shirt) walks along with the convoy at Kasturba Nagar in Chennai

Anand gets off a chariot to enter his house, as videographers climb the compound wall for a shot of the star

King Anand in the chariot [photo R. Ragu for The Hindu]

Anand won the world championship convincingly in Mexico City
to gain the title and become one of India's greatest sporting heroes


  • Express India: World class welcome for Anand
    If chaos marked his reception in Delhi, it was a ‘royal’ welcome that was accorded to the World Chess Champion, Vishwanathan Anand, from the moment he stepped out of the Chennai airport. Riding on a regally decked-up two-horse chariot, along the crowded streets of Chennai, for a short while even wearing a metal crown and holding up a scepter, a beaming Anand waved, signed autographs, acknowledged cheers and was even made to bless toddlers along the way.

    With the sounds of the chenda (traditional Kerala drums), the mridangam and the nadaswaram greeting him and hordes of school children, a few inmates of a Spastics Home, fans, family, friends and members of the public hailing his world title in Mexico, holding aloft placards and posters, Anand returned to his home-city along with wife Aruna, flushed with the excitement of the rousing reception.

  • The Hindu: Hero’s welcome overwhelms Anand
    Viswanathan Anand is seldom at a loss for words, but the World chess champion was stunned at the reception he received in his home city. Huge groups of children and chess lovers representing various institutions and associations had assembled at the Chennai Airport on a hot Wednesday afternoon, hoping to catch more than a fleeting glimpse of Anand. The media and his fans were engaged in a tussle for vantage positions after the World Champion walked out of the domestic terminal with his wife Aruna. “Never in my dreams did I expect such a reception,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words actually. It’s unbelievable. I did not expect this. I thank all the people who made it, specially the children, for braving the heat and waiting for me.”

    The 38-year-old was then taken to Kasturba Nagar third cross street, where a chariot was readied to take him to his residence via Indira Nagar, LB Road and MG Road, with the idea of giving his fans and well-wishers an opportunity to greet him. Calm and accommodating as ever, Anand obliged every single autograph request and shook hands with all his fans through the course of his chariot ride, which was part of the TNSCA’s and Velammal Institution’s reception programme.

  • Indian Express: Beating Kasparov was more satisfying
    Anand in a press conference: What is happening is chess in India at the moment? “Great interest, the numbers are growing, and in P Harikrishna and K Sasikiran and Sandipan Chanda you have some very strong men. And I guess Koneru Humpy is aiming at Judit Polgar. On a possible match: What if Kasparov decides to give up politics and return to chess? “I can say one thing, he will have a game with me waiting for him, if and when he does,” said Anand, the smile never leaving his face. “I’m open to it.” On entering into politics: “I don’t think about it, I guess I will never be interested in that.”

  • CNN-IBN: I have no plans of slowing down
    "I think it's been a pretty fantastic year. If in January you had told me that you are going to regain the World Title and become World No. 1, and go back over 2800 the same year, I would never have believed you. I don't feel that old in chess terms. My rivals are a regular bunch of guys and when I talk to them I feel like a teenager anyway. As long as you are physically fit and you are able to work hard, it's not a big problem. In chess it's going to be difficult to be a top player as a 50-year-old, but I still have got a (long) way to go there."

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register