While Chennai is already experiencing chess fever, Chennaiyin FC supported the International Chess Federation (FIDE)-organised friendly football matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which were facilitated by the Tamil Nadu Government including the state's Sports Minister Thiru Siva V Meyyanathan.
Chess legend Viswanathan Anand along with officials of the All India Chess Federation and teams from FIDE, Africa, America, Europe and Asia took part in these matches on Thursday. The teams were divided into two groups of three each.
The five-time world champion was not only in his football gear but also showcased his moves on the football ground.
Anand quipped post the friendly match, "There are a lot of chess players who play football. The European and African teams are fanatical about football. I am very interested in football and follow the game but I do not play much but I thoroughly enjoyed the game. It was a very nice chance for everyone to bond and I know it works in other way as well. There are a lot of footballers who like to play chess for relaxation so it is nice to have it both ways."
The tournament was won by the African continent.
Chennaiyin FC are set to participate in the upcoming Durand Cup ahead of the season 9 of the Indian Super League and the mentor of the Indian contingent at the Olympiad, Anand wished the team ahead of the season, "I want to wish the Chennaiyin Fc team and their fans good luck and all the best for the new season."
The defending champion of Durand Cup is FC Goa.
The tournament is slated to start from August 16 onwards.
This year, the Durand Cup has grown to 20 teams from 16 last year and all 11 teams of the Indian Super League (ISL) have confirmed participation. Five teams from the I-League and four Services teams will also be vying for the coveted honours.
FC Goa are in Group A alongside Mohammedan SC, Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC and Indian Air Force.
There will be a total of 47 games in the Durand Cup this year, with West Bengal hosting Group A and Group B matches, while Imphal and Guwahati will host Group C and Group D games respectively. All seven knockout games will be held across the three venues in West Bengal.
The Tournament will culminate with the Grand Finale scheduled on September 18, 2022, at Kolkata's Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK).
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