Chennai, Dec 1 (UNI) Another honour came by for Grand Master and World Champion Vishwanathan Anand in his home town Chennai this evening-- the 161-year-old Madras Cricket Club, known as the MCC among the sporting fraternity, made him an honourary member.
''I really feel honoured. It's nice to be a member of a Club replete with sportspersons. I am pretty sure I'll be coming to the Club, looking forward to exchanging experiences with them,'' Anand said, accepting the honour and the 'club tie' in the presence of his wife Aruna.
Anand thus joined the exalted list of honourary members including Sunil Gavaskar (1983), Kapil Dev (1989), Sachin Tendulkar (2001), England's Nasser Hussain, whose father Javed Hussain was a member, and tennis stars Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati (2001).
''Sports as a way of life has been our motive and the Club has several sports luminaries. It is for this very reason that the Club was delighted with the idea of extending this honour to Anand,'' Secretary S K Manickavasagam said, recalling the factfile about Anand that he is the first Grand Master in the history of the game to be wearing the world crown and topping the ELO ranking at the same time, after American Bobby Fischer.
Anand also enthralled and played the role of a coach, teaching the finer points playing simultaneous chess with some children of members of the Club. The starry eyed, upcoming talents in the sport also extended their autograph books to Anand, their idol and favourite hero in the game of 64 squares.