Chennai: It is not just hours of preparation that goes into making a chess champion, neither is it just the immediacy of intuition that helps a player call forth a novelty. Sometimes, it helps to step back and have a good laugh.
“Once when he was playing a tournament in Delhi, he lost a game when he committed a very elementary blunder. I got him a bunch of Archie comics, which did not cost as much as it does now. He read the whole lot and relaxed himself to go on and have a good tournament” said Susheela Viswanathan, recalling an incident from her son Anand's early days in chess.
“When you win, there are thousands of people who share your happiness with you, it is only when you lose that the family's support counts,” she said.
This perhaps helped Anand recover from a dispiriting start to his title defence at the World Chess Championship — defeat in the first game, which he had to play earlier than he would have liked, thanks to the disruption of air traffic caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption.
The gruelling schedule and the unresolved nature of the contest going into the last game did not, however, prove to be obstacles that were insurmountable for the champion.
“When I woke up this morning I thought that this could be the saddest day of my life or the happiest. I have almost no experience in a World championship match where every result is possible on the final game.
“I was not unhappy that it would be over soon,” Anand had said at the end of the twelfth match, an anxiety his mother shared.
“Yes it was difficult. Topalov is a very good player and in spite of Anand being an expert at rapid chess, I was happy it finished with the twelfth game. All is well that ends well,” she said.