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Life squared - Viswanathan Anand

On the treshhold of great victories Photo: Rajeev Bhatt   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

He started playing chess when he was all of six years and became the youngest international grandmaster at 14. The soft spoken Viswanathan Anand has won the world championship thrice, recently defending it in an epic encounter with Bulgarian Veslin Topalov at Bulgaria.

In the city for the opening of a Croma store in J.P.Nagar, the three-time world chess champion says, “I feel that chess must be introduced at the junior level in schools. It helps build concentration, helps students strategise more. It makes children better at academics.” Anand is taking a break from chess, after defending the world title. He's following the Football World Cup 2010 on the telly. “I am a football fanatic. I stay up late at night watching all the matches. I am rooting for Spain, since it is my second home, and Argentina, since I am a big fan of Messi. I hope both these teams make it to the finals of the tournament.”

Anand says he is thrilled that more youngsters are taking up chess as a career option. “It is a positive development that would result in a lot of good players emerging into the international scene.” He does not buy the argument that the lack of government support is responsible for the sad state of sports in the country. “I feel that schools and corporates should help the government in popularising sports in the country. Blaming the government for every sporting debacle will not be fair.”

Fit and fighting

One often wonders, what routine do world beaters undertake before an important game/match? Anand quips, “I like to keep myself physically and mentally fit before any important match. I usually take a short nap just before the game and do not practice immediately before the tournament.”

Anand considers the match with Veslin Topalov as one of the most difficult in his career. “The games were very intensive and mentally drained me.”

He plans to get back to chess in a couple of weeks. “I need to get back into the groove and will start practicing soon. The playoffs for the world title will start soon and I will be facing the winners from the playoffs.” His practice routine is often strenuous, stretching to nearly 10 hours on certain occasions. “My practice schedule is not constant and changes a lot and depends on my moods also.”

Anand feels that regular exercise that involves concentration techniques is necessary for any chess player. “When you play with the best in the world, it is important that you not lose focus. You must be fully focused. Even a minor error could result in a massive defeat.”

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 10:42:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/Life-squared-Viswanathan-Anand/article16272202.ece

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