Thursday, October 30, 2008

He Just Did It

I just did it. And with that cryptic comment Viswanathan Anand announced to his wife that he had won the World Championship. Anand won the World championship a few hours back with a comprehensive victory over Vladimir Kramnik. Beating Kramnik three times in a series is quite remarkable because as Anand himself pointed out Kramnik hardly loses three times in a year. Such was the superiority of Anand on the board.

And this was a superiority gained by hard labour. In fact so intense has been his preparation for the title defence that he stayed ignorant of all the goings on in the world around him. Not for him the financial turmoil engulfing the world or the US Presidential elections, it was just the World Championship and nothing else.

With this victory Anand has won the World Championship in three different formats – the 128 player knockout format in 2000, the eight-player double round-robin field last year and now Match-Play format. This triumph also means that he is only the second player in history, after Bobby Fischer, to have scored over the Soviets/Russians in the Match-Play format.

Now what I want to see is what his reception is going to be when he gets back home. When our cricket brats won the T20 World Cup there was an open bus parade for them all the way from the Mumbai airport to the Wankhede stadium. Will Anand get that kind of reception or will he just be met by a few officials at the Chennai airport?

I wonder what the reason is for the lack of popularity of Anand among the masses. Is it that Chess is a more cerebral game than cricket and therefore not something that would excite the masses? Or is it personality based? I mean Anand after all is the nicest, quietest most self-deprecating guy around. Could that be the reason? Would he have been more top of the mind if he had an affair or two with starlets or had drunken orgies in Chennai/Mumbai/Delhi etc.?

But hey I am digressing. These musings are probably for another day, another time. Right now it is time to celebrate a true World Champion in our midst. You “Just did it” dude.

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