Indian Chess World Champion Treated As National Hero

CHESS CHAMPION CHECKS IN AS INDIA’S FAVORITE MATE: India hasn’t had much to shout about in world sports. Sure, the cricket squads be buggin’, but the South Asian country lacks any big accomplishments in other athletic fields.

Now fans from Mumbai to Calcutta have a new world champ to call their own - in chess:

Anand Indian Chess

TIME checks out Viswanathan Anand, the man described by the mag as “India’s Great Chess Hope”. The 37-year-old pawnmaster rooked his way up to become king of the World Chess Championship last month in Mexico City.

How excited are Indian fans about his victory? When Anand arrived at back Delhi airport at 1 a.m., hundreds of fans were at the gate, cheering and screaming for their new national hero.

Anand is hoping he can inspire his countrymen to do better and get over their own sporty self-doubts: “It’s one of the things that nags Indians — why we’re so bad at sports.”

Cleveland Indians lose in Boston

Cleveland baseball fans are wondering the same thing.

But Anand is not alone in India’s quest for international recognition. On the heels of the Great Chess Hope is India’s Great Chest Hope - Sania Mirza:

Sania Mirza tennis

The 20-year-old tennis star from Hyderabad is making her way up the WTA ladder, currently sitting at #32 in the world rankings.

Sania has been turning heads on the court with her dazzling serves and volleys, and turning more heads off the court with her other outstanding attributes.

Now, if TIME did an article about her, magazine sales would certainly be a grand slam.