Aarthie Felicitated In Befitting Style
By Arvind Aaron
The World Girls U-18 Champion Aarthie Ramaswamy was felicitated by the Tamil Nadu Chess Association in a grand manner on Sunday December 5, 1999 at the Media Hall of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai. A cheque totalling Rs.1 lakh ($2,200) and a Compaq Presario Notebook Computer worth Rs.1.50 lakhs ($3,300) and loads of deserved praise were showered on Aarthie, the seventh Indian and second Chennaiite (after V.Anand) to win a world title.
The dynamic Mr D.V.Sundar, Vice President of the All India Chess Federation who welcomed the gathering was instrumental in getting Aarthie the fabulous sum from various sponsors.
Mr. J.C.D.Prabhakaran, Secretary of the Chennai District Chess Association who stood-in for the sick Dr. Mahalingam commended Aarthie on her latest achievement. He also congratulated The Hindu newspaper group for their extraordinary coverage of chess which he believed was on par with cricket.
Mrs Shantini Kapoor, I.A.S., of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu said Aarthie looked `simple' and she expected her to go further and become a woman grandmaster. Replying to pleas by earlier speakers, Mrs Kapoor said she will do her best in helping chess especially at the rural areas. Later she drapped Aarthie with a `ponnadai' (shawl).
Mr Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Pentafour Software presented Aarthie with a computer which was on top of the agenda in the ceremony. A former chess player while in school and college, he said when one goes up and up in his career he is haunted by lonliness. He said he finds time for chess and finds it as a `good companion'.
In hailing Aarthie on her achievement, Mr. N.Murali, Joint Managing Director of The Hindu asked her to follow in the footsteps of Anand. He recalled that Chennai with stars as Manuel Aaron, then Viswanathan Anand and now Aarthie is thick in chess activity. He urged the Government to nurture the special talent which the people in this state have for chess.
Dr. N.Mahalingam, President of the TNCA who was indisposed, offered a scholarship of Rs.2,500 for Aarthie per month and Rs.10,000 to any Tamil Nadu player for winning any National title. His message was read.
In replying to the speeches, Aarthie said there would be a need for another function when she attains the woman grandmaster mark. She thanked all those who helped her in her chess career naming every second except the latest IM R.B.Ramesh.
Speaking at the end, IM Manuel Aaron, General Secretary of the TNCA
who travelled as one of the two officials to Oropesa del Mar, Spain (where
Aarthie achieved her career best) concluded his vote of thanks with the
tamil word `thodarum' (meaning `to be continued'). The function attended
by well over 300 chess lovers finished on a positive note.