Anand: My money is on Argentina, Spain

Calcutta: He is not ashamed of having sought advice from former world champion Garri Kasparov during his world championship match against Veselin Topalov. He has enjoyed every moment of Argentina’s match against Nigeria. In the city to inaugurate the NIIT inter-college chess competition, world champion Viswanathan Anand spoke to the mediapersons on chess and beyond.

The following are excerpts

On what made this year’s world championship special

I must admit that this year, it was the toughest compared to other years. During past years, never did the title round clashes go the distance. This year, it was different. This is the first time that the championship was undecided till the final round with both of us locked at five-and-a-half points each. It was a see-saw struggle. There were certain new formations that I tried.

On what was unique about the victory

Right from the time we started our journey to Sophia till the end, it was a definitely different from other competitions. Also it’s a healthy thing that the fight has been such intense.

Topalov’s criticism of him seeking Kasparov’s help

I have already reacted by taking his (Kasparov) help. I wouldn’t prefer to react to Topalov’s reaction… If you react to reactions, it will go on forever… If I have taken someone’s help, I am glad that I did so. I will do it again (smiles).

Handling tough situations

I manage to look cool in tough situations. And I have managed to fool you all with my cool looks (laughs)… It’s not that I don’t get tense, but with years of experience, you start having a different perception about how you approach things… You start worrying less once the action starts. Then it is the dynamics of the game that takes over. You only think about the game and shut yourself from the rest of the world. I have always been very relaxed on the board irrespective of my performance.

The advantage of having an unchanged team of seconds

It’s always helps when you have members who enjoy working with each other. This is the team [GM Peter Heine-Nielsen (Denmark), GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly (India), GM Radoslav Wojtasek (Poland) and former world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan), for the record] that has worked for me… It’s like five people doing a final proof reading before a you publish a work.

Surya’s contribution

Surya is a fantastic player himself and we have been working together for a long time now. It’s only recently that his role has got formalised. It always helps when you work with someone with whom you share a comfort level.

If he’s hooked to the World Cup

Who isn’t? My money is on Argentina and Spain. I enjoyed watching Argentina play against Nigeria. Messi is my current favourite. He might not have scored but look at the number of chances he created. It was amazing goalkeeping from the Nigerian goalkeeper… I will also follow Brazil’s matches but Spain will be another team to watch out for. If you have players as talented as Xavi Hernandes, Fernando Torres and Andres Iniesta, you should take them seriously.

(I have to disagree with Anand here. I’m picking Brazil to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup.)

On wife Aruna’s role

She takes care of everything so that I can only concentrate on the game. It’s always nice to have someone with whom you can share your feelings after a hard day’s work.


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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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