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Friday, 29 December, 2000, 14:49 GMT
Grand homecoming for chess hero
Viswanathan Anand (L) President KR Narayanan (R)
Viswanathan Anand (L) is congratulated by President KR Narayanan (R)
Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand has arrived home to a hero's welcome after being crowned world chess champion last week.

Screaming fans proclaimed him the 'Mind King' as he left Delhi airport for the presidential palace to be congratulated by President KR Narayanan.

Anand beat Spain's Alexei Shirov in Tehran, taking the $660,000 first prize and becoming the first Asian to win the FIDE world chess championship.

"I'm thrilled at the reception I have received here," the world champion said, as he thanked his wife and parents for their support for his professional career.

Indian origins

Anand said his preparation in India for the finals in Iran had been significant.

"Chess as a game emerged in India and it spread through Persia, now Iran, and both countries made some contribution to my title... it's in a way symbolic," he said.

Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand is proud of chess's Indian roots
Anand, who was taught chess by his mother, said he was lucky to have been given the opportunity to play.

"It's not very often in India that parents give you carte blanche to play chess full-time from a young age," he said.

He reacted modestly to praise from the Information Technology minister, Pramod Mahajan, who said, "All Indians are sure to be proud of him".

"It's all very touching and I sometimes get nervous that it may be too much to live up to," Anand replied.

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See also:

24 Dec 00 | Middle East
Indian wins chess championship
20 Dec 00 | Middle East
Iran hosts chess final
02 Nov 00 | Europe
Garry Kasparov: A king deposed
23 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Kasparov outplays the planet
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