Playback legend SPB’s hidden hand in Vishy Anand’s career growth

Chennai (IANS) Not many know that famed playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, who passed away on Friday, had played an indirect role in the career growth of former World Chess Champion Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand during his school days.

Balasubrahmanyam, popularly known as SPB or Balu in the movie world, died on Friday afternoon in a Chennai hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19 since last month.

“Really sad to hear about the passing away of such a great yet simple person. He was my first sponsor! He sponsored our team Chennai Colts (then Madras Colts) in the national team championship in 1983. One of the nicest persons I have met. His music gave us such joy #RIPSPB,” Anand said in a tweet expressing grief on the demise of the famed singer.

“It was a team chess championship held in then Bombay (now Mumbai). Anand won the board prize and qualified for the National B championship and from there he went to National A. After that his career went up and up,” International Master and one of the Madras Colts team members, T.S.Ravi, told IANS.

Old timers in Tamil Nadu chess told IANS that Telugu poet Aarudhra was the then President of Madras District Chess Association (MDCA). It was Aarudhra who had spoken to Balasubrahmanyam about the shortage of funds to take the boys chess team for the National Team Championship.

The singer immediately gave a cheque with which the Madras Colts went to Mumbai.

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