June 10, 2012

A Tendulkar fan from Russia

Devashish Fuloria

An unlikely cricket fan, Russian chess grandmaster Peter Svidler, has used the 'Tendulkar' sobriquet to play online chess on a server popular among 200,000 members including Garry Kasparov. Svidler, who is an Andrew Strauss and Sachin Tendulkar fan, was initiated into cricket during the 1999 World Cup match between India and Pakistan.

"I chose 'Tendulkar' because I meant it as some innocent fun. The intention was to create an illusion, sort of a practical joke on the Western reaction and speculation of people who would assume that somebody who plays chess well and uses an Indian sportsperson's handle must be [Vishwanathan] Anand," Svidler told The Sunday Express.

"On the ICC [Internet Chess Club], people would ask, 'Are you Anand?'. I would say no and they never believed it." Apparently, the original Anand is not much of a cricket fan.

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Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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