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Viswanathan Anand says seeing best table tennis players compete will boost sport

Viswanathan Anand, five-time world chess champion, has said the Ultimate Table Tennis tournament gives an excellent opportunity for the fans in India to catch something special which will benefit the sport in the country

other sports Updated: Jul 15, 2017 15:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Viswanathan Anand,Ultimate Table Tennis,Table Tennis
Viswanathan Anand has said the Ultimate Table Tennis tournament has the potential to popularise the sport in India.(PTI)

Viswanathan Anand and Table Tennis have a special relationship. Before taking up chess, Anand played plenty of Table Tennis as a kid in school. Now, recently in Chennai, the five-time world champion has said the Ultimate Table Tennis tournament has the potential to popularise sport in India.

“Any sport benefits when you see the world’s best players compete. When you see how they make the difficult look simple, it inspires the fans to take up the sport. This is an excellent opportunity for fans in India to witness something special. On top of that, the format is unique and exciting and that makes a big difference,” the five-time world chess champion said.

Anand was the chief guest for the launch of the Ultimate Table Tennis tournament and the first match featured the RPSG Mavericks take on the Falcons TTC. He played a game with Niraj Bajaj, one of the promoters of the tournament. When asked how it felt playing the game after so long, Anand replied, “If you ask a chess player who has not played for a long time to play again, there is an initial bit of hesitation and then suddenly, everything comes back. I have not played Table Tennis for a long time but I used to play it as a kid.”

The league will feature top India players like Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Soumyajit Ghosh, Madhurika Patkar, Mousumi Paul and Krittwika Sinha Roy. The league is being played in an interesting format where each team will play nine matches in a tie with each match comprising 3 games. Consequently, each tie shall comprise 27 games. Each game will have players competing with each other to score 11 points first, meaning in the event that scores are level at 10-all then the 11th point will be a Golden Point and shall decide the winner. The team that wins 14 or more games out of the 27 games shall be the winner of that respective tie.

Anand spent some time with Sharath Kamal and said there were some similarities between Chess and Table Tennis. “The competitive spirit is the same. I spent some time with Sharath Kamal. We were discussing approach to big tournaments and I can relate to it. I am excited about Sharath’s chances,” Anand said.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 15:11 IST