Other Sports

Time to organise big events in India, says Viswanathan Anand

File photo of Viswanathan Anand.

File photo of Viswanathan Anand. | Photo Credit: R. Ravindran

Viswanathan Anand is all for use of technology, all the digital platforms and more, to promote chess globally.

Soon after becoming the Deputy president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in Chennai on August 7, 2022, the five-time world champion spoke about his vision for chess, exclusively to The Hindu.

Excerpts from the interview.

First of all, what made you accept the offer to be on Arkady Dvorkovich’s panel?

Well, for me, the most important thing was Arkady's record. I’ve seen him as the FIDE president for the last four years, and I’ve noticed a lot of improvements. Organisation has stabilised. It presents a more serious and professional face. A lot of administrative things are more streamlined and professional. So, I thought that this is an excellent team to join and extend support to.

What is your vision of world chess over the next four years?

Obviously, the goal of the team is to make chess more popular and especially more universal, as accessible to every small Federation and every chess player. I want it to focus on women's chess and getting young people into the game. These are broad missions that, I think, we continue and try to improve. Also, I would like to use this chance to promote the game and find opportunities in India. That’s maybe the thing that I’m closest to. But broadly speaking, continue all the team’s work and focus on all these areas.

What suggestions do you have to improve the growth and image of the sport?

Chess should continue to use technology, all the digital platforms, all the recent developments, which have been very positive, and extend them out, make them go further and further to every Federation and across the world. It has never been a better time to reach out to everyone. Even a lot of the problems of geography can be addressed now very easily. This allows us to make it a truly global sport. That trend has already started, in the sense that maybe for the last 10 or 15 years, the sport has seen World champions from more new countries than ever before. But I would like to take this further.

With your presence in FIDE, can our chess fans expect big FIDE events coming to India?

I hope that this will give FIDE and chess even more visibility in India. And certainly, if there are interesting projects and opportunities that we can explore here in India, then I hope that I’m able to push that further.

Finally, what is the general feeling in the FIDE about various organisation aspects of the ongoing Chess Olympiad?

India is indeed getting wide attention in chess, and this Chennai Chess Olympiad, in particular, has been a showcase for that. Not only have we had excellent organisation, but also most of the feedback I get from the rest of FIDE is, that the organisation has been superlative. On top of that, we have this young generation of chess players, most of whom are in the India 2 team who are really shining and have attracted a lot of attention recently. Their performance here has been brilliant.

We can not only showcase what events we can do but also the players that we have. That, for me, is very, very exciting because we have many of them, especially the talk after the Olympiad is about Gukesh. But really, just a lot of them show that India has a very bright future in chess. I would think that this is the moment to try and organise big chess events here in India.

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 5:42:53 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/time-to-organise-big-events-in-india-says-viswanathan-anand/article65742053.ece