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GRANDMASTER'S SIMPLICITY Viswanathan Anand playing with an inmate from Vidya Sagar.
GRANDMASTER'S SIMPLICITY Viswanathan Anand playing with an inmate from Vidya Sagar.

Chess enthusiasts were delighted to play with their favourite hero at "Vishy vs Everybody", an event organised by Vidya Sagar

Eleven-year-olds R. Tejas and S. Sai Kiran, students of P. S. Senior Secondary School, were the last men standing in a battle of chess that lasted over two hours with none other than Viswanathan Anand on Sunday morning, having survived about 50 moves, each. "Last year, it took about four hours," says Sai Kiran, who had played with Anand earlier for the same cause. So had his eight-year-old brother S. Sai Praveen, who lasted 41 moves with his celebrity opponent. The world-class chess champ on Sunday took on 40 such chess enthusiasts (20 at a time) at the `Vishy versus Everybody' event organised in support of Vidya Sagar and disability. Anand also played with kids from Vidya Sagar, who seemed to be delighted to meet their favourite hero again. Like Karthik who said: "Anand anna gives me tips, sometimes books and even computers." Vishy also fielded questions from them. Some of them completely innocent, like: "Has anyone ever beaten you? Can you tell one of their names?" With all humility, the champ said he had lost to many ever since he was introduced to the game by his mother when he was six. "I've lost many games but not that many recently. Almost all the top players have beaten me." He also noted that all sport was getting extremely competitive and that preparations had to start very early. "Till the ninth standard, there was no problem. When I entered Standard X, I hardly attended school. If you want to make a mark in sports, start young," he said, but with a word of caution: "Don't give up studying too early." When someone compared chess to cricket and observed that the faster version of the game was always popular, Anand said: "I'm not an expert on cricket. But there's rapid chess that works almost in the same ratio as Test cricket and one-day cricket. One-hour games compared to five-hour games. In the one-hour game, there's more excitement, more chance of making mistakes." Most grandmasters don't play tournaments like "Vishy vs. Everybody", a friend from Vidya Sagar asked. "It's important to play tournaments like these because chess is not an ivory-tower sport. It's events like these that bring the game to the people." During the daylong event, a chessboard autographed by Anand was auctioned to the highest bidder, Pankaj, in aid of Vidya Sagar. SUDHISH KAMATH

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