Viswanathan Anand: No retirement moves yet

Pretty much enjoying the game, so why not keep playing: Anand

Updated - October 18, 2016 02:40 pm IST

Published - July 27, 2016 12:15 am IST

Viswanathan Anand says he is trying to keep up with the current trends.

Viswanathan Anand says he is trying to keep up with the current trends.

For five-time World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, life is beautiful. His warmth and simplicity have remained evergreen. Before flying to St. Louis for a tournament held as part of the Grand Chess Tour, Anand spoke to The Hindu on Tuesday.


What keeps your desire burning?

I am pretty much enjoying the game. And if am enjoying it, why not keep playing? Of course, I want to do well. I still enjoy being a chess player.

Are you at a stage where you have to reinvent yourself?

Computers have forced you to keep changing your working methods. Plus, the tendency now is to play long games even in an equal position, and to keep making moves. Many times a draw is forbidden. In such cases, it has become a physical game.

Right now, the physical component is getting higher. So, you have to adapt to that.

Has anything in your training pattern changed since the 2013 World championship in Chennai?

I am trying to keep up with the current trends a lot. When I was playing in matches, I had the attitude that I would pretty much do what I did in matches. I didn’t adapt that much. Now when I go for tournaments, I try to learn new stuff before I go. I don’t just rely on my match repertoire.

Do you pick and choose tournaments now?

All that is true, but I don’t want to keep on talking on this theme of ‘this phase’. I have always adapted. Once upon a time I used to play much more. It’s healthy, in general, to stop for a while. I stop more than I used to [20 years back]. Tournaments themselves are evolving.

The tournaments I like to play in, I still play. I don’t calculate ratings points too much. The only reason to do that would be to qualify by ratings for the World Candidates. I think you play well, you get more points, and you qualify by ratings. You cannot skip tournaments. You cannot be cunning and qualify.

There is a view that FIDE had been unfair to you in quite a few World championship finals. Do you share that feeling?

Those were difficult moments. I had the feeling that the rules which were taking shape were favourable to my opponents. I don’t think about it a lot. If you keep on thinking how unfair something is to you, you will not be able to play very well. Once you’ve turned up, you have to do the best.

Sometimes, I thought there were way too many matches in a row when I became the World champion. If you look at the matches in 2013 [against Magnus Carlsen], it should have normally been held in 2014. For some reason I was playing an annual match. In fact I played in 2012, ’13 and ’14 and that turned out to be a ridiculous schedule.

While some of the situations were not very pleasant, I don’t regret playing those events. I don’t see it as a conspiracy. For me the important thing was the World championship was unified way back in 2006.

Does it affect you when people repeatedly ask you about retirement plans?

Honestly, I understand why they are asking that question. It doesn’t offend me. I just live for the moment. One day it will be ‘yes.’ For the moment it is ‘no.’

After the Chennai debacle (2013), you fought back to win the Candidates. How was the feeling?

It was a bit of a relief. After Chennai, my confidence was shattered. I was only hoping for a second or third place finish in Khanty-Mansiysk. The Candidates victory gave me confidence for the rest of 2014, and many things improved. It was one of my happiest moments.

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