My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Chess

On the wake of Vishy Anand retaining his world title for the 5th year in a row, I thought of re-posting an old article from my blog on the great champion.

My Thoughts

Indian sports has always been about cricket. Since the time India won the world cup in 1983, Indian sports scene has been dominated by cricket. It enjoys largest fan base and highest money flow and sponsorship when compared to other sports in India. The difference is so huge that even comparing them isn’t worth it. It is unfortunate that our national game Hockey went down the drain around the same time. Sportsmen from other fields rarely get their due. Viswanathan Anand is one such sportsman, brilliant chess player, and undisputed world champion but rarely gets the attention he deserves. Lots of my friends don’t even consider chess as a sport which is quite ridiculous. Chess is very much a sport and we have a player who is damn good at the same.

Even though a common man might not place him in the same bracket as a Sachin Tendulkar, the…

View original post 315 more words

Vishwanathan Anand successfully defended his World championship title by defeating Boris Gelfand from Israel.

Vishwanathan Anand retained his world chess crown for the 5th straight year when he defeated Boris Gelfand in the tie breaker. Anand became the world chess champion in the year 2007 and this is the 5th straight year he has defended his title successfully. Congrats to Vishy Anand on retaining his world chess title. He has once again proved that he is one of the greatest sportsman India has ever produced.

Sports in India have always been synonymous with Cricket. Even though we have had famous personalities in other sports, they hardly get the kind of recognition and press as the cricket personalities do. I have decided to dig some names and personalities who are the future of Indian sports which includes non-cricketing superstars. This article only covers the sports personalities from my home town as Chennai/Tamil Nadu has always been a place which has produced variety of sports personalities. I am just naming few of the current stars.

Dipika Pallikal

She is born in Chennai and this 20 year old is a squash champion. She is the highest ranked squash player from India and is currently at 14th in the world. She has three WISPA (Women’s International Squash Players Association) titles and was the first Indian player to make the Quarter finals of world squash open. She also became the youngest Indian player to reach the summit clash of a silver event when she made it to the finals of “Tournament of Champions” Squash event in New York.

Dipika is a very talented squash player and has achieved a lot at a young age. Again Squash is a very low profile sport in India and she does not get too much of press as she should. Congrats to Dipika on a great 2011 where she climbed from 29th in the world to 14th at the end of it, hopefully she will have a better 2012.

Sarath Kumar

Nope he is not the Tamil actor. He is India’s first MotoGP racer in the 125 cc category. He is another racer from Chennai keeping the legacy of the city known for producing 2 formula 1 racers. The 20 year old Indian is the fastest rider in Indian class and was the first to break the 2 minute barrier on an Indian bake at the circuit. Another talented Indian sports personality who only got decent press due to him being the first Indian to ride in Moto GP. I hope he has a great 2012 and does well in the chances he gets.

Sharath kamal

He is yet another Indian sports personality who hardly gets enough press but is famous enough. Probably he is known the most around India among the names I have already mentioned. He is India’s number one table tennis player and has remained at the top for 4 years now. He won the gold at commonwealth games in 2006 and also has the distinction of being the first Indian to win an ITTF Pro title when he won at the Egypt open. He also captained the Indian team which defeated the English team who were the favorites and 9 time champions at the Egypt open in the same year.

Ilavazhagi

This is one person I found hardly any news about apart from a Chennai tabloid blog. The 2008 women’s world carom champion fought poverty to reach the pinnacle in the sport. She won the title in 2008 in France. The nation which was caught in the euphoria of the IPL completely missed the return of the triumphant Ilavazhagi’s return. The two time SAARC champion finally got the recognition when the State Government announced cash prize of 10 lakhs after her interviews in the media.

People who fight adversity and achieve great things need support of the media and the government. Champions like Ilavazhagi can actually inspire young people to achieve something and also teach them to fight to reach their goals. Kudos to her for the title and hope she goes on to do India proud at the world level once again.

Armaan Ebrahim

Yet another racer from Chennai following in the footsteps of Narain Karthikeyan, Karun Chandhok and Parthiva Sureshwaran, Armaan is the son of legendary Akbar Ebrahim who is the former British F3 champion. Armaan is a talented racer who competed in the Formula 2 championship in the years 2010 and 2011. He will be racing in the Firestone Indy lights in 2012. He has a great future and has very good reputation on circuit. Hope he has a great 2012 and wins quite a lot of races in the Indy lights. Another sports person who hardly finds any press

Tennis Scene in Chennai

Tennis and Chennai have always been hand in hand. The great father son duo of Ramanathan Krishnan and Ramesh Krishnan were from Chennai and so were the Amritraj brothers. Ramanathan Krishnan was probably the highest seeded Indian in Wimbledon when he was #4 in the 1962 championship. He has had multiple appearances in the Grand Slam Semi-Finals. His son Ramesh Krishnan also was a famous tennis icon in the 80’s. Following in the father’s footsteps, Ramesh also won the junior Wimbledon title in the late 70’s. Ramesh reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon once and US Open twice in his career. Ramesh reached his highest singles ranking of 23 in the year 1985.

Following in the tennis legacy of Chennai was Vijay Amritraj. Yet another great player from the Chennai shores. Amritraj was the highest ranked Singles player from India in the open era. His highest ranking was 16th in the world. Amritraj also reached the quarter-finals of US Open and Wimbledon and also had an impressive 384-296 W/L record in singles.

The greatness of the tennis scene did not stop with the Krishnan’s and the Amritraj brothers. It is to be noted that Leander Paes and current Indian number 1 Somdev Devvarman learned their trade in Chennai. Leander is the aluminous of the famous Loyola College in Chennai and did his schooling in the famous Madras Christian College. Chennai boasts of the famous Numgambakkam tennis stadium where the prestigious Chennai Open takes place every year. The Krishnan tennis center and the Britannia Amritraj tennis academy train lots of young players in India.

Chennai is also the home for the famous MRF pace foundation which has given the Indian cricket team lots of famous pace bowlers under the tutelage of legendary Dennis Lillie.

Chennai has always had a multi-faceted sporting culture. We have legends from tennis, Chess, Carom, table tennis and off course cricket. Chess champion and world number 1 Viswanathan Anand comes from Chennai and so do lots of Grand Masters following in his footsteps. This article is just the tip of the ice berg, there are number of other young achievers I might have missed. There are for sure lots of other sports achievers throughout the country who are not that well known through India. I just did this for Chennai and I already feel exhausted and I have not even included every young achiever in the city. Just imagine how many would be there throughout the country. Please add to the list if you know of such sports personalities. These stars require as much recognition and press as a cricketer does.

Saina and her coach P Gopichand return to a warm reception in India after her fantastic win in the Indonesian Open.

In India it would seem for an outsider that cricket is the only sport in existence. Hockey (India’s National game) has been on a wane for a long time now and nothing has been done about it. Indian Hockey team had to face the ignominy of not qualifying for the world cup and have pretty much struggled at the world stage over the past decade or so. So even though until the last few years we haven’t achieved anything great in cricket the major difference between cricket and other sports were the stars and individual achievements.

Cricket has always given its fan a star to idolize, which was something lacking in other sports. In the 90’s Leander and Mahesh captured the imagination of the Indians with wonderful performances and so did Gopichand with this All England title but not much from the other sports. But the last few years has changed the trend. Starting from Abhinav Bindra’s brilliant gold at the Olympics to Saina Nehwal’s wonderful run in Badminton, Indian sports has come a long way in that time. We have Vijender Singh in Boxing, Somdev in tennis, and Saina in Badminton and Abhinav Bindra in shooting and Viswanathan Anand in Chess. Saina I feel will end up as the best Indian women sportsperson in the history of Indian sports. At just 20 she has scaled enormous peaks and has become world number two and I hope that she becomes the best player in the world soon.

That is quite a line up I mentioned above, adding to that list is Armaan Ebrahim (Formula Two racer), Parthiva Sureshwaran (Formula two) and Karun Chandhok (Second Indian after Narain to represent in Formula 1) and Narain himself in NASCAR (US) reviving India’s interest in motorsports. So considering all this the last 10 years has been a golden period for Indian sports. I always believed that you need stars in other sports to get the kids interested. Media needs to play an important role in this too.

The next major hurdle now is the sponsors. Recently I was in conversation with one of our American colleague’s at lunch during the Soccer world cup and we asked him why American youngsters are not taking up Soccer as their career considering how well their National team performed at the event. He said it all came down to the money. Other sports in US such as Football, Baseball and Basketball ensure million dollar contracts, scholarship in a good college etc which soccer doesn’t here. Which was a very valid point as for parents to encourage their kids to take up a sport as a career, they will consider the financial aspect as their major criteria. That’s where cricket scores over the other sports in India.

Now with stars like Saina, Abhinav and Vijender in the mix I hope that these sports receive sponsors too. All the money right now goes only to one sport and it will be great if the respective associations try and get sponsorship and promote other sports to encourage youngsters to take up the same. I know this will be a long process and cannot be achieved overnight but we have to move in that direction.

A good talent should not be lost due to lack of money. We have a world number 1 middle weight boxer, World number two badminton player, Olympic gold medalist in shooting, Top 100 men’s tennis player and 4 players in world motorsports. This is indeed the golden era for Indian sports and we need to make full use of the same and hope that this scenario is not wasted. Good luck to Saina and others for the Commonwealth games in India. I hope that they make India proud win lots of medals in the upcoming CW games.

Indian sports has always been about cricket. Since the time India won the world cup in 1983, Indian sports scene has been dominated by cricket. It enjoys largest fan base and highest money flow and sponsorship when compared to other sports in India. The difference is so huge that even comparing them isn’t worth it. It is unfortunate that our national game Hockey went down the drain around the same time. Sportsmen from other fields rarely get their due. Viswanathan Anand is one such sportsman, brilliant chess player, and undisputed world champion but rarely gets the attention he deserves. Lots of my friends don’t even consider chess as a sport which is quite ridiculous. Chess is very much a sport and we have a player who is damn good at the same.

Even though a common man might not place him in the same bracket as a Sachin Tendulkar, the government of India does though. He was the first sportsman to receive Padma Vibhushan (India’s second highest civilian honor) before Sachin received the same one year later. We all know the status the cricketers have in India but I feel that sportsmen from other fields should get similar coverage to encourage others to take up such sport.

India needs heroes from other fields to be projected much better in the media for the people to recognize their achievements. Viswanathan Anand became the first player in the chess history to win the world championship in all three formats (Knockout, tournament and Match). You don’t have to be a chess enthusiast to appreciate an icon in Indian sports.

Anand has been an undisputed world champion for the past 4 years and also has won the chess Oscars 7 times in his career. Not many people know that. He is a brilliant role model for the youth with his modest and down to earth personality. Fantastic in what he does, his achievements are just known to the chess lovers across the country and not to the common sports fans. For a normal sports fan anything which does not involve running around on an open field is not a sport.

When I was talking to my friends over lunch they completely dismissed any sort of recognition to this brilliant champion ahead of Sachin Tendulkar. I am a Sachin fan myself but not oblivious to the achievements of other sporting icons in the country. I am no Chess fan and would not sit through an entire game but for sure respect the laurels this man has brought to our country.

So this is my salute to one of the brilliant sportsmen from India to compete on the world stage. I hope that Vishy Anand breaks more records and remains the best player in the world for many years to come.


My Thoughts

My Tweets

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 359 other followers