Chess: India hails Anand's world title | Inquirer Sports

Chess: India hails Anand’s world title

/ 05:26 PM May 31, 2012

World Chess champion Viswanathan Anand from India, speaks during a press conference after tie break match against Boris Gelfand of Israel, at the FIDE World Chess Championship at Moscow's Tretyakovsky State Gallery, Russia, Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Anand has retained his FIDE world champion's title. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

NEW DELHI – India on Thursday celebrated Viswanathan Anand’s world title chess triumph, with Bollywood stars, the prime minister and newspaper front pages lining up to hail his success.

Anand, 42, defeated Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in a quick-fire shootout in Moscow on Wednesday after their 12-game epic was drawn, giving Anand a fifth world title and his fourth in a row.


“The country should come out on the streets and celebrate,” Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan told reporters.


“It is bigger than any World Cup victory,” he added in a reference to India’s cricket World Cup win last year that triggered massive nationwide celebrations.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Anand’s retention of the world title was a “monumental achievement”, while ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi described it as “stupendous”.

Chess is not a central part of Indian culture, but newspapers devoted extensive coverage to Anand’s win with the Times of India saying he had disproved critics who had “ridiculed him and said he had lost his flair”.

The Mail Today cleared its front page to celebrate the news, using a photograph of Anand hunched over the board on his way to victory.

“He has brought laurels to the country and I thank him for that,” sports minister Ajay Maken said. “He is the best sportsperson the country has.”

Indian chess federation president J. Prabhakar called for the country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, to be conferred on Anand.

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TAGS: Chess, Sports

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