Anand should not be sidelined in the midst of Sachin frenzy

The hype, adulation and accolades for Sachin Tendulkar continue unabated. The Master Blaster crafted a memorable 74 at Wankhede yesterday, his last Test innings.

Even as we relish and cherish Sachin’s contribution, let us not forget that a world champion of equal stature is battling to defend his title in Chennai.

Chess ace Viswanathan Anand, current world champion, is locked in a fascinating and enthralling contest against Norway’s young challenger Magnus Carlsen. Chess, naturally, will not command the same following as cricket does here as everybody does not understand the game and spectators are relatively fewer. Yet, let’s remember that Anand, not much older than Sachin (Anand is 44) has dominated his game and brought as much glory to this country as Sachin has. Anand is a five-time World Champion, and has been World Champion since 2007. He, in fact, exemplifies his belief that the barometer for greatness is absolute dominance. He is already considered the strongest rapid player of his generation.

Remarkably composed in the face of enormous pressure, Anand is and has been the consummate champion. This Padma Vibhushan steers clear of controversy and today, plays a champion less than half his age not reacting to provocative statements and gamesmanship. So, even as we deify Sachin Tendulkar, let’s stop and salute a man who has kept the tricolour flying atop the chess world for so many years. A cerebral genius, who never mind the lack of posters and t-shirts on him, inspires younger chess playing Indians to new heights. So, all eyes on Mumbai, but, spare a sigh (of wonder) for Chennai.  

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