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Welcome home, champ!

Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand returned here from Moscow on Saturday to a grand welcome. “I thank all those who came to receive me. I am very happy,” said the 42-year-old world champion who defeated Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in Moscow to clinch his fifth title on Wednesday.

His wife Aruna, who returned with him, said: “I am so happy. It was a tense match and Anand played the tie-breaker really well. We are looking forward to meeting our son Akhil.” Akhil was born in April last year.

The world champion met up with family members, friends, fans and chess officials at the airport. He thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for announcing a Rs two crore cash award for his achievement.

“I am very happy that so many people have come here to greet me and honour me. I am happy that chess has been introduced in schools. I am sure, more champions will grow now,” said Anand.

The champ was modest after his victory and acknowledged how close the contest was. “I simply hung on for dear life. I understood that in all fairness, this match simply could go either way,” he said after his win.

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