Chennai, Dec 22: World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand today said it will be a great honour if he receives the Bharat Ratna but made it clear that he would never lobby for the coveted award or suggest any names.
“It will be great if I get it, but I won't lobby for it,” Anand said on the sidelines of a felicitation function organised by the NIIT here this evening.
Last week, government modified the eligibility criteria for the Bharat Ratna paving the way for sportspersons, like the late hockey legend Dhyan Chand and cricket great sachin Tendulkar, to be conferred the country's highest civilian award.
However, Anand refused to suggest any sportsperson or anybody's name for the award.
Anand will look to defend his world title in Moscow next year against 42-year-old Boris Gelfand, former Soviet chess grandmaster, and the Indian reckons it will be a tough match.
“Chess players keep evolving all the time. They always come up with something new every time. It will be a tough match. Though pundits are saying that I am the favourite, I am not bothered about it,” he said.
“Both Boris and myself will be starting from the scratch and the positions will be the same. I will start my preparations next month, probably after the New year. I have three to four months' time for preparations and be ready for the match against Gelfand.
Gelfand qualified as the official challenger from the recently-concluded Candidates tournament in Kazan, capital of Russia's Tatarstan Republic.
The two players will face off at the historic Tretyakov State Gallery across the Moscow River from the Kremlin for the 2012 world crown.
“They (people in Moscow) know the sport well. They appreciate good Chess and any good move. Once I was given a standing ovation for making a good move because they know the sport well,” Anand signed off.