Sitting in the last row, three seats away from Aruna Anand inside the ball room, the venue of the world chess championship, during the fourth round on Wednesday was S. Krishnan, the father of Sasikiran, one of Viswanathan Anand’s ‘seconds’ here.
“It’s a great honour to be a ‘second’ for a legend,” said the 65-year-old former banker.
“We hope that this will be a turning point for Sasi in his career.”
Though Sasikiran has worked with Anand earlier too on specific openings, this is the first time that the 32-year-old is working with the great player for a major championship.
Krishnan expresses hope that Sasikiran will mature and emerge a better player after the championship.
Krishnan said he didn’t want to be seen in public in the days leading up to the championship for fear of people asking if Sasikiran was indeed assisting Anand.
So, only when the five-time world champion revealed his seconds to the media did Krishnan heave a sigh of relief.
“Only after that did I decide to come and watch the match,” said Krishnan.
Did Anand’s revealing of his ‘seconds’ take him by surprise?
“Yes,” replied Krishnan. “We didn’t expect it.”
For months together now, Sasikiran, the third highest rated Indian, has been with Anand at undisclosed locations.
In fact, he was training with the defending champion at Bod Soden in Germany weeks before the championship.
During that time, Sasikiran also played in the World Cup in Tromso (Norway) and in the European Club championship in Greece.
Krishnan said Sasikiran was not disturbed at all by his family members during his training with the world champion.
“We know how important the event is. Only if there is an emergency do well call him,” he said.
Anand’s rapport with Sasikiran and his family goes back a long way.
When Anand visits Chennai, he asks Sasikiran to come over to either discuss chess or to play chess.
Krishnan said he had hopes of 2014 being much better for his son.
“This year, he didn’t play many tournaments, and his performances too have not up to his standards.
“After this experience I think he will certainly do well,” he said.