World Champion Viswanathan Anand visits Durban

9/9/2009 – It was a memorable experience for all involved, and an auspicious one too: Durban Chess Club was celebrating its 116th birthday! World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand visited the Kwazulu Natal Province of South Africa on a good-will tour, arranged by his sponsor NIIT. Speeches, dinners, lectures, simul – the World Champion was in his element. Big illustrated report by Desmond Rooplal.

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Viswanathan Anand visits Durban

Desmond Rooplal on the World Champion's visit to Kwazulu Natal Province

Thanks to NIIT’s program in South Africa, Durban and Mandini chess players were privileged to have met Viswanathan Anand – in person!


Durban Chess Club Chairman Peter Danklemann shares with Anand a story about a visit to Durban by another World Champion – Max Euwe, at the time when Euwe was FIDE President.


Viswanathan Anand, NIIT’s ambassador, talks about the global talent development corporation, inspiring students to invest in their own skills development, and the link to economic growth.


YouTube video of Anand’s speech


Anand and Aruna with the NIIT and Moses Kotane team, outside the Umfolozi College
– Mandini Campus (80 km away from Durban)


With NIIT students


Anand and wife Aruna: the Champion took an interest in the Durban Metro Chess
Academy’s motto: “Push pawns, not drugs”


Anand gives a 22-board simultaneous exhibition


NIIT Students trying to weather the World Champion's storm


Sayen Naidu (the pink stripe shirt) managed to pull off a draw! Sayen said he’s never
wash his hand again – after having shaking hands with the World Champion.


DMCA Chairman Bongani Mgaga encourages students to hang in there and give it their best!


Viswanathan Anand vs Desmond Rooplal

As luck would have it, we had to drive back 80 km to Durban, for Anand’s lecture, and the game was stopped at 23 moves, I escaped a pawn down, with some resemblance of what used to be a Berlin.


Bongani Mgaga in a proud moment with the World Champion


Lunch with the King

Later that evening Prof Danklemann introduces Anand, at the Durban Botanical Gardens, to Durban Chess Club players. Peter reflected on the prestige of a World Chess Champion, by recounting a story: after a press conference at an elite New York tournament, a young boy walked up to a reporter and asked for his autograph.  The reporter agreed, but pointed out he was just an ordinary person, and so enquired why the boy wanted it, to which the boy responded “Ah yes… you shook the hand of Capablanca!”


An informative and entertaining analysis of the 5th game, WCh Bonn 2008


Durban Chess club players watch spellbound!


Setting up a critical position from Anand-Lautier 1997, from my copy of his book “My Best Games of Chess”


When I bought Vishy Anand's book back in in March 2006, I never guessed that
Anand would actually be holding it one day!  (…and now it is signed!)

Anand,Viswanathan (2765) - Lautier,Joel (2660) [B01]
Credit Suisse Biel (1), 1997
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Ne5 e6 8.g4 Bg6 9.h4 Nbd7 10.Nxd7 Nxd7 11.h5 Be4 12.Rh3 Bg2 13.Re3 Nb6 14.Bd3 Nd5 15.f3 Bb4 16.Kf2 Bxc3 17.bxc3 Qxc3 18.Rb1 Qxd4 19.Rxb7 Rd8 20.h6 gxh6

21.Bg6!! Ne7 22.Qxd4 Rxd4 23.Rd3 Rd8 24.Rxd8+ Kxd8 25.Bd3 1-0.


The Indian Consulate General Harsh Shringla introducing Anand. Seated are honored
guests: Col. Ajai Lal (NIIT), Aruna, Vishy Anand and Durban’s Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo,


Anand speaking about the benefits of chess


Down to business: Anand takes on the KwaZulu Natal Junior team. Former Durban
Chess Club Champion Keith Rust (blue shirt) watches over some of his students

What a memorable experience, and at an auspicious time for the World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand to have visited Durban, since August saw the Durban Chess Club celebrating its 116th birthday!  The DCC Bulletin, by MM Miller, and archival records thanks to Keith Rust. Note: Keith Rust has since broken the DCC record mentioned above...

Photos by: Paul Curry, Shaun Savy, Keith Rust, and Desmond Rooplal
Report and video: Desmond Rooplal


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