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Chennai will host the World Chess Championship title match among defensive champion Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand of Israel in April-May next year.

Anand is clearly excited as he will be playing a World Championship title competition in his home town next year against Gelfand, who is currently 12 in World rankings.

“I have been looking to play the match in Chennai. It is nice that Chennai is hosting a World Championship match,” said grandmaster Anand on Wednesday after Tamil Nadu government offered support for the 12-match series in April-May next year. “Obviously, it is an individual’s blame and once I start planning and training, I need to be focused to play Boris Gelfand,” said Anand.

Anand last played a World Championship match in Chennai in 1991 when he beaten Alexey Dreev 5-4 in a Candidates tournament quarter-final. Grandmaster Anand said that “I will soon begin my preparations for the next year’s match, Once the FIDE (World Chess Federation) announces the schedule and timing of matches, I will start planning. As I said, I am actually delighted to be playing in Chennai. I will have to work extremely hard. It is going to be tough,”.

Earlier in the day, FIDE president Kirsan Illyumzhinov along with some Indian chess officials met chief minister J Jayalalithaa who assured the delegation of Tamil Nadu government’s support in hosting the event that is estimated to cost ` 20 crores.

“I express my grateful feelings to chief minister for her decision to have the match in Chennai. I look forward eagerly to play here. It will be a fantastic experience. It is a very tough match,” said Anand.

“Her excellency Jayalalithaa responded affirmatively and considered the offer (of hosting the title match) of the World Chess Federation as an excellent opportunity to put Chennai at the centre of world attention. She subsequently instructed her chief secretary to finalize the offer to FIDE and the AICF (All-India Chess Federation),” read a declaration from FIDE. India is ranked seventh in the world, and of the 24 granmasters in the country, 24 are from Tamil Nadu.

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