India’s Chess Renaissance
Chess, or rather its precursor, shatranj, originated in India. So it was ironic that for much of the modern history of the game, India produced almost no great players.
The country is making up for lost time with a vengeance.
In the last 15 years or so, the popularity of the game has exploded across India with hundreds of thousands of children regularly studying chess and many tournaments springing up supported by India’s growing economy.
The reasons for this renaissance primarily trace back to one man: Viswanathan Anand, 46, the former World Champion. His accomplishments have made him one of the most popular “sports” figures in the country and the recipient of many honors, including the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian honor, and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sports award.
Source: India’s Chess Renaissance