CHENNAI: Apples and oranges. This is the latest of Vishy Anand’s quotable quotes. The world champion was referring to his performance in the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee in relation to his upcoming World championship match against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in April.
While it was expected that Viswanthan Anand would be doubly cautious about his play in the event, the number of draws he conceded, 11 in 13 games and nine in a row from the start, was quite surprising. But then Anand is adept at explaining the intricacies of the game in his own inimitable way. Even while answering a question on whether he was preoccupied with his match preparations for April while playing in Corus, he sidestepped the issue.
“Playing a tournament especially like Corus that has 13 opponents is a very different experience. You train for different styles and the colours of the draw can have an impact on the way the event goes. In a match, it’s only one person. So it’s very different,” he told the ToI as he took a break from chess and returned to Spain.
Anand’s record at Corus is impeccable: he holds the record for most title wins and he enjoys playing there, more because there is an Indian connection. He started slowly against weaker opponents and by the time he entered the second half, it seemed he had forgotten how to win.
“I would have liked to win a few more games in the earlier rounds. Maybe, I could have played a bit differently,” explained Anand whose official preparations towards the Topalov match start later this week with his manager-cum-wife Aruna visiting Sofia to inspect the arrangements there.
He could have played differently but then there is no takeback in chess, no revision.
In his own words, he played spoilsport towards the end, pulling down the two GMs in form – Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik, who both were in the lead when they met the Indian across the table. “I was patient with the long string of draws. The win against Shirov was tense and the game went back and forth. My game with Kramnik I was quite happy with.”
Vladimir is playing exceptional chess and has shown great results since the match (against Anand). “I was happy with how I played the game. It is very difficult to beat players of his calibre. He is one of the most well prepared players in the game,” Anand explained.
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