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Anand looks back on a satisfying journey

Master of the game: Vishy, as Anand is known in the chess world, revolutionised the sport in India.

Master of the game: Vishy, as Anand is known in the chess world, revolutionised the sport in India.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

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Almost everything I want to do, I’ve done, says the Grandmaster

It seems like yesterday that India was warming up to this exciting chess talent.

This was bound to happen when, in the span of five months — between August 2 and December 30, 1987 — a teenager named V. Anand moved from being the country’s first World junior champion to the first Grandmaster!

Almost 32 years later, at 50, Viswanathan Anand has delivered far more than he once promised. In the process, Vishy, as he is known in the chess world, revolutionised the sport in India.

Bringing joy

True to his name, Anand brought joyous times for a nation starved of world beaters. Five world titles across three formats, two World Cups and triumphs spread over tournaments, worth winning.

In an illustrious career spanning over three decades, and counting, the former World No. 1 was ranked in the top-10 list for nearly 25 years!

“Like all life stories, when it started I had no idea of the destination,” said Anand. “As they say, it’s been glorious. Almost everything I want to do, I’ve done. I can look back with a lot of pleasure. But I think you really only look back when you do it for others.”

Anand said he had learnt most of life’s lessons through chess and that whenever he looked back on events he did so in the context of what it meant in chess terms.

On his book, Mind Masters, to be released on Friday, Anand said: “For a lot of people, this will be the closest they come to the mind of a chess player.

“I think there are far more Indians who follow my results than those who follow the moves.

“So I hope that they will become acquainted with my chess journey and also my life lessons. And get a deeper understanding of me as a person, as well. So in that sense, it’s meant for the non-chess audience and for people who are curious in some way.”

Asked whether he felt age impacted his recent performances, Anand was candid.

“I’ve noticed I’ve become much more unstable, I’ve become much more inconsistent. And before I had a sense of control or feeling a sense of control. I realised now looking back and forgetting the little details. I think the past looks much better now, than when it was present,” he said.

Extra time

Returning to the present, Anand said, “I’m proud of the last few years, that I'm able to fight, in what is becoming a very young sport very fast.

“Now, it feels like the whistle has been blown, but the referee has given a bit of extra-time, like in football. And it feels like, I know, this is just fun. And of course, you still have to challenge yourself.”

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 11:52:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/anand-looks-back-on-a-satisfying-journey/article30289497.ece

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