Viswanathan Anand recalls SP Balasubrahmanyam as his first sponsor

On his twitter handle, Anand spoke about SPB sponsoring his team - Chennai Colts - in the national team championship in 1983.

Viswanathan Anand also remembered meeting S. P. Balasubrahmanyam after the World Cup in 2002 at the airport.   -  FILE PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand, a huge fan of S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, paid tribute to the the playback singer who passed away on Friday.

On his twitter handle, Anand spoke about SPB sponsoring his team - Chennai Colts - in the national team championship in 1983.

“His music gave us such joy,” he had tweeted.

Anand highlighted that the National team championship in 1983 in a way was a turning point for him. 

“I was 13 years old [then]. I didn’t meet him [then]. It was [a gentleman called] Aarudra who arranged [for the sponsorship]. In a way, that was my breakthrough event [national team championship]. We won the team event and I won the top board prize and went on to qualify for the National ‘A’ & ‘B’ championships,” the 50-year-old recollected.

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“We have been waiting for good news [about SPB recovery]. Every time there was an update that he seemed to have got better, I was relieved. Then when news emerged that he was very critical, I began to feel the worst,” he said. 

Anand remembered meeting SPB after the World Cup in 2002 at the airport. “After the World Cup, I reminded him about the [sponsorship] and he said ‘I do remember.’ We have spoken a couple of times after that. He was such a gentle person. I am feeling down,” said the chess legend.

He said there are so many songs by SPB that he loved and it was difficult to pick one out of them. “There are too many songs. Actually, I have listened to so many performances of him singing other people’s songs,” he said.

He picked 'Ennadi Meenakshi' and 'Kamban Emanthan' songs as his favourites of the legendary singer.

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