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Men may come and men may go, But Chennai Chess goes check, check ...
                                                        By IA V.Kameswaran & IA K.Murali Mohan

Founded in 1971 under the old name of Madras, the Chennai District Chess Association is the strongest district association in Tamil Nadu. Our players and we have achieved many, many laurels but we also went through a lot of toil and trouble on our way to the top.

The Madras District Chess Association began with T.Sikhamani (a former AICF Secretary) as President and G.Livingston (1926-2004) as Secretary. A dedicated chess community worker par excellence. Livingston went through the legalities of a new society and got it registered quickly. The 1st Madras District Chess Championship held at the IIT Staff Recreation Club in 1971 under the shadow of war with Pakistan, was won by R.J.Mehra, a contemporary of Indian chess legend Mir Sultan Khan!

The success of the second Madras District Championship at the Gowri Kalyanamandapam in 1972 testified to the growing popularity of chess in Madras. That tournament attracted 185 competitors (Seniors 20, Non-medalists 120, Juniors 40 and Women 5). This great tournament was organized by the ever smiling Savak K Tarapore (Secretary) and T.S.Karpaga Ganesh (Treasurer). Curiously the national champion Aaron lost to two Eswarans, T.N. Parameswaran (on time) and V.Kameswaran (this game is found in quite a few publications like Chess Informator). Kameswaran won this tournament which had, besides Manuel Aaron, Finland's Hannu Keto, national junior champion R.Vijayaraghavan, budding masters Raja Ravi Sekhar, T.N.Parameswaran, etc. Winners of the other sections were late M.A.Samraj (Non-medalist, All India Radio), Malathi Hariharan (women) and M.Ramesh (junior, now in Canada).

During 1973 and 1974, the MDCA had 300+ individual members and more than 40 Clubs. The ten Executive Committee Club members were Tal Chess Club, Mylapore Chess Club, Income-tax Recreation Club, Tamil Nadu Social & Cultural Association, Cultural and Games Association of India (CAGAI) - a Club of the then State secretary T.T.Krishnaswami, Simpson Society Staff Recreation Club. TVS Recreation Club, Madras Telephones Recreation Club, Indian Overseas Bank Staff Club and Indian Bank Sports & Recreation Club. Later, Accountant General's Office RC, Olympic RC and other institutions also started organizing their own chess tournaments. The period 1974 to 1982 may be termed as the pre-Anand era. The Madras District tournaments attracted players of national and international importance from other states. The visit of Grandmasters, Miguel Najdorf of Argentina and Alexei Suetin of the Soviet Union in the early 1970s further kindled the chess interest of Madras players.

When Najdorf visited Madras in 1972 he gave a simultaneous display at the old Nehru Stadium. Electricity failed at a juncture and there was no generator. Najdorf sportingly agreed to continue the Simul with the light from a single Petromax lamp. A volunteer carried the lamp from table to table as Najdorf made his moves and moved on! And when GM Alexei Suetin had to be brought from Vijayawada to Madras for his Simul in a tight schedule, there was a crisis. The Hindu helped by putting him on its daily return flight from Vijayawada. At that time The Hindu did not have a Vijayawada edition and the paper was flown by their own aircraft every morning from Madras.

The MDCA brought out a souvenir to commemorate the 7th Tamil Nadu Inter-District Team Championship in Nov.1982. V.Anand's chess started blooming from that year. A born 'Madrasi', Anand has a special place in our hearts. When he won the world crown in 2000, the reception on a make-shift dais just outside the Chennai Airport, the colorful procession, from his Besant Nagar home to Indian Bank's Image Auditorium and the subsequent felicitation function with the Chief Justice of Madras, Mr. N.K.Jain as the chief guest, are etched in our memory.

In 1997 International Arbiter K.Muralimohan became Secretary of Chennai District and has brilliantly managed the association with a group of dedicated organizers. His Capa Chess Academy is a by word in chess organization. Efficiency and punctuality mark his tournaments in contrast to a few other events. The blossoming of children's chess in Chennai owes much to him. Starting as a non-medalist player he has risen to be an unparalleled organizer.

We have been fortunate to have dynamic persons as Presidents. Our Presidents: T.Sikhamani, Rajanikant M.Mehta, Dr. Arudra, Mu. Arachelvan, Porko K Selvaraj, J.C.D.Prabakaran (the man with a golden touch) and S.Ramakrishnan. Our current President is Mr.S.Balachandran.

The Secretaries: G.Livingston, S.K.Tarapore, V.Kameswaran, A.Govindarajan, S.V.Natarajan, C.Prabhakaran, A.J.Manavalan, Feroz Ali Shroff, N.R.Parthasarathy and, from 1997, Murali Mohan.

Chennai Chess Trivia

  1. V.Ravikumjar, 16, won the First Annual Open by TVS Recreation Club in 1975. At that time he was the youngest to win a senior tournament.
  2. Dr. Arudra, one of the Presidents of MDCA wrote the History of Telugu Literature in 12 volumes. His 'Chathurangam' in Telugu, dedicated to Manuel Aaron, was reprinted in 1980!!
  3. In 1981 and 1983 Madras city teams finished tenth in the 3rd and 4th Asian Cities Team Championships held at Hong Kong.
  4. In 1984, on the initiative of Dr. Arudra, president of MDCA, a 5-member team called "Madras Colts" made up of teenagers V.Anand, Ashok Aaron, Paul Arokiaraj, Ebenezer Joseph and T.S.Ravi was sent to the National Team Championship at Bombay. Dr.Arudra had got the famed play back singer in the film world, S.P.Balasubramaniam to sponsor the team.
    V.Anand won the top board prize, in the team championship, got a seeding to the National "B", played in the National "B" at Ahmedabad, qualified for the "A" and never looked back.
  5. Cuba's GM Roman Hernandez and World Junior Champion IM Walter Arencibia gave Simultaneouly displays at Tal Chess Club in 1988.
  6. A.N.Parasuraman Memorial Trophy for Chennai District Championship instituted by Capa Chess Academy in 1996.
  7. India's first IM and 9-times national champion Manuel Aaron never won the Madras District Championship. But Arvind Aaron succeeded where his father failed!
  8. Mrs. Susheela Viswanathan, mother of Anand, was a Vice-President of the MDCA for a short period.
  9. Chennai is the only Indian City to host a national event 11 years in a row - CRSB's National Institutional Team Championship.
  10. The very first National Under-10, 12, 14 championships were held at IIT, Madras in 1988.
  11. Madras-B won the 1st and 4th TN State Inter District Team Championships at Madras and Mettur ahead of Madras-A!
  12. The first Women Grandmaster Tournament sponsored but Madras Refineries was held at Madras in 1987.
  13. The first World Candidates pre-quarter Final Match between Vishwanathan Anand and Alexei Dreyev was organized at Madras in 1991.
  14. The Bertram Chess tournament for students, organized by Loyola College, Madras is more than four decades old.
  15. India's first IM, GM, WGM, and IA are from Chennai.
  16. Chess Mate, a monthly published from 1983 is from Chennai.
  17. The first Inter-Club Team Championship in 1981 was won by Solar Chess Club (M.Ramesh, M.Suresh, R.Vijayaraghavan (captain), S.Krishnamurthy and N.Balasubramaniam). Final standings: 1. Solar CC 17/20; 2 Tal "A" 14; 3-4. ORC and Tal B 12; 5. Indian Bank 11; A.G.R.C. 8.5; 7.Madras Fertilizers 8; 8-9. ITRC, BHEL 7.5; 10 Indian Organic Chemicals 6.5; 11. M.R.F. 6.

The association pays the entry fee and traveling expenses of its players to various State Championships.

From 2004, Chennai players winning national titles get an award of Rs.1000/- and those who finish second, Rs.500/-. Every year, 250-300 players register themselves with us.

Our affiliates, T-Nagar Chess Academy, Capa Chess Academy, Children's Club Society of India, Solar Chess Club of DKSSI trust, Nasa Chess Academy and recently Saranya Chess Centre regularly conduct tournaments of children.

Our affiliates, T-Nagar Chess Academy, Capa Chess Academy, Children's Club Society of India, Solar Chess Club of DKSSI trust, Nasa Chess Academy and recently Saranya Chess Centre regularly conduct tournaments of children.

Saranya Chess Centre made Chennai proud by organizing jointly with Win TV, Chennai's first ever International Open Chess Tournament during January 2004.

Children's Chess has taken a big leap forward and some tournament or the other takes place in some corner or the other of Chennai.

Children's tournaments have helped organizers spot new sponsors. We have either got sponsorships from parents of chess playing children or such parents have helped us get sponsors. Some of the parents who have helped: our former President Late S.Ramakrishnan, Oscar Braganza, S.Balachandran, D.Sundara Krishnan, RM.N.Karuppiah and P.R.Venketramam Raja.

Apart from several National Championships organized by our state association, our affiliate Capa Chess Academy has organized the 2002 National Under-12 & 14 Boys and attracting a record entry of 540.

Many State Championships have been held in Chennai by us or by our affiliates.

We are proud that two World Champions, Vishwanathan Anand and Aarthie Ramaswamy, as well as Grand Master R.B.Ramesh and Women Grand Masters S.Vijayalakshmi and S.Meenakshi are from our association.

All our achievements are possible mainly because we have a team of dedicated persons like Special Members M.K.Sampath Kumar, Dr.R.Nagaraju and N.K.Nandakumar and Joint Secretaries Mrs. Alamelu Ramaswamy, Mrs.Jeyanthi Krishnan and Treasurer Mrs.R.Shymala

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