CHENNAI: The SDAT–Ramco 50th World Junior and 29th Junior Girls Chess Championships got off to a colourful start on Monday with reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand inaugurating the event in the presence of D Jayakumar, speaker, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.

Children from Velammal school captivated the audience in jam-packed hall with a cultural programme. The songs and dance showcased the various dance forms in India like bhangra, kathak and all the folk dances from Tamil Nadu. Young children also performed a Japanese dance with lots of enthusiasm. One could see Anand enjoying every bit of the programme. DV Sundar, vice-president of FIDE, lauded Anand for starting a chess revolution in India and named Chennai as the ‘’Mecca of Indian Chess.’’ He pointed out that Manuel Aaron from the city was India’s first IM and the first GM was Anand himself. He advised children to follow Anand for he believed that the legend with his deeds on and off the board was a role model for all sportsmen. Anand in his speech recalled the time he played the world junior. He said that he won the world junior crown on his fourth attempt. He added that the junior event was not only important for one’s career but also an event where one can develop everlasting friendship as it was in his case.

He also thanked the Tamil Nadu Government for supporting the bid to have the world championship in the city. Anand wished all the participants the best and hoped they would enjoy their stay in the city.

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