Terming his fifth World Championship title as the most difficult one to achieve, chess wizard Viswanathan Anand on Saturday admitted that veteran Russian player Garry Kasparov’s mind games did affect him during his title defence in Moscow in May.
“Normally I try not to read newspapers or websites on chess precisely for this reason. You might be affected by some comment or other. Unfortunately, in press conferences, you are asked pointed questions and then you try to find about things you tried not to read about. Still I think you try not to lose sight,” Anand said.
“It is important to know the main opponent is (Boris) Gelfand and not Kasparov. It is important to focus on the match...but this time it was there in the background and it was impossible to shut it out,” said the five-time world champion.
Former world champion Kasparov controversially remarked during the tournament that Anand should have retired from the game like he himself had done and that the Indian had lost motivation and had slid downhill over the last few years.
After clinching the crown, the Indian ace had retorted that Kasparov was regretting his retirement from the game.
“We were asked about his remarks. He is the man who regrets leaving chess. He misses the attention he got in chess; somehow he wants to be there. May be he should play again,” Anand had said on his return home in June.
“The match against (Vladmir) Kramnik finished in 11 games. The match against (Veselin) Topalov finished in 12 games. Against, Gelfand it went past 12 games.
“The intensity was higher, otherwise most matches are similar. I would say this was my most difficult one as it went all the way to the tiebreaks,” Anand observed.