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Indian chess scene positive: Anand
June 07, 2003 17:01 IST
Asia is taking to the game of chess in a big way with India and China enjoying a very big presence, Super Grandmaster Viswanthan Anand said in Bangalore on Saturday.
"Earlier the gap between the Soviet Union and rest of the world, as far as chess is concerned, was huge. It is narrowing now. However, the Russians are still dominant," Anand, who visited the city as NIIT's brand ambassador for the launch of the 'Mind Champion Academy', told reporters.
Anand said he was happy to note the rapid strides made by the youngsters in recent times.
"In the last 10 to 15 years, the chess scenario has grown rapidly and changed a lot, thanks to computers. A lot of young players are doing very well and the Indian scene looks very positive and bright.
"At the World Cup in Hyderabad, Koneru Humpy did very well, while Viji (Vijayalakshmi) was in good form. Players like [Krishnan] Sasikaran and [Surya Shekar] Ganguly are steadily picking up," Anand said.
Underlining how computers have revolutionised the game, especially with the coming in of the first databases in 1986, Anand said, "The game could be completed in one go with no adjournments and by 1992 every single player needed a laptop."
The real potential of the game can be realised through IT literacy, he stressed.
He said a unique initiative will see chess being introduced in about 2,000 schools in states where NIIT is conducting its training programme covering three lakh students.
"Through this training module, we hope to cover one million students in the next few years," Anand said.
The chess champion, who earlier spent some moments with the children of the Spastic Society in Bangalore, was touched by the enthusiasm of the kids.
"It (enthusiasm) really rubs off on you. I feel this sport is perfect for disabled children as it is one way they can really express themselves," he said.
He also donated books worth Rs 50,000 to the society's library.
Highlighting the importance of physical fitness for players today, Anand said in contrast to players who used to unwind by "having a good drink and spending late hours in the bar, the player today needs to be fit to take in tension for 5 to 6 hours a day".
Anand is all set to fly to Germany in July where he will be playing tournaments in Dortmund and Meinz, and later in October, in Captagde and Corsica in France.