AHMEDABAD: December 24 holds a special place in Viswanathan Anand's life - he had won his first world championship on this day in 2000 beating Alexi Shirov in Tehran.
On Friday, the chess champion also anchored Ahmedabad to a new Guinness record - where the highest number of chess players congregated to play the game. A smiling Anand who rang the bell to start the proceedings, and was in the thick of things all through the mega event, was visibly thrilled to see Ahmedabad create the new record. In all 20,480 players got together to play chess against 1,024 masters and break Mexico's existing record of 13,446 players created in 2006. There was a thunderous roar of approval from the crowd when Guinness adjudicator Tarika Wala announced that Ahmedabad holds the new record. She also applauded the fact that there were 140 blind players in the line-up.
"One can't imagine how incredibly proud I am today. I have never been involved in something so big and I am thrilled to be part of this event today. This event will be as close to my heart as all my world championship titles. It is a very important day in my life," said Anand. Chief minister Narendra Modi, who helped facilitate the world record-breaking event, thanked all the participants.