Anand: 'I can tell you that Nielsen will be on'

12/25/2009 – Those were the exact words that led to the misunderstanding of an Indian journalist and the viral spread of the report that Magnus Carlsen would be one of the seconds of World Champion Viswanathan Anand in his Sofia match against Veselin Topalov. One of our readers sent video footage, and also a delightful Christmas report on Anand's visit in Bangalore.

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Anand's press conference

The misunderstanding arose in the following press conference, which took place in Bangalore, South India. Anand participated in an event organised by his sponsor Niit, and during the Q&A session was surrounded by journalists and fans, who tried to record everything mainly on cellphones. We assume the Telegraph journalist was in the crowd and got his information from there. Fortunately, one of our readers, Suneet Singh Mausil, was present and recorded the proceedings. He sent us the following video, which jumps to the critical part of the conference:

Anand: First of all I don't think I won't really be disclosing my team of seconds. And the second thing is even if I did you shouldn't believe me. These are questions I can't really answer.

Maybe bluff can help you against Topalov?

Anand: Yeah, but anyway he likes to announce his team... and also I don't think it makes that much sense. Anyway I can tell you that Nielsen will be on.

If you are not well acquainted with the chess world and its personalities it is easily possible to miss the bit about "Nielsen". The Telegraph journalist probably listened to his cellphone recording and then googled a bit, coming up with the following transcription: "Even if I tell you... the rival camp will not believe me. But one thing is for sure, Magnus Carlsen (the world No. 2) will be one of the seconds."

That's how these viral rumours spread.


A Corporate Chess Fan’s Story

By Suneet Singh Mausil

I am an entrepreneur and a chess enthusiast. I used to play some tournaments in good old college days, but now life revolves around corporate concepts and strategies. Though I have organized chess events and even wrote some chess software, playing chess is limited to Internet blitz and serious tournaments were avoided for years. This event was different and gave me a great reason to pick up chess again for a brief while. The reason was World Champion Vishwanathan Anand!

The event was advertised through various national newspapers and internet.

A Fan’s Preparations

I got to know about this tournament just four days before it had to start and also got sick at the same time. I decided to play this tournament because Anand was going to give a simul with top 20 players at the end. So, all business stops and focus is on meeting Anand in style.

I have been a fan of Anand since his World Championship Match with Kasparov in New York, 1995. Chess wasn’t a popular sport in India till then, and this great man helped change the scene. Though he became World Champion few years later, for me he was Peoples’ Champion since 2005 and will always be that in future. A World Champion must belong to the world and Anand does. Far away from controversies and ego, this cheerful, approachable and popular Champion has done more good to chess than most of his predecessors. Let it be India, Africa, Europe or America, he has helped popularize chess and found loving fans everywhere. The number of charitable and chess promotion events he attends is unprecedented. Most importantly he brings healing power of his charming grace to a sport historically marred by selfish egos.

I was in Mumbai in 2003, when I saw him live on a local news channel. He was addressing a college crowd, which was five kms away from where I was. I gave frantic chase but missed him by a few minutes. I left disappointed, but I knew I will get my chance again, and this event was it. Being out of touch of chess, I started preparing for the tournament. The following poster was major part of the preparation.


Click to view a much larger versions of the poster

How could I have met him empty handed? I put family, friends, great moments and moods all around. In the center was the World Champion Anand surrounded by all his predecessors. I sneaked myself in the bottom right as well. I got two copies autographs by him and gifted one special copy to the great Champion. This was my small way of showing the respect and admiration his fan feels.

The Tournament Grind

The Team Championship was held on 17th-18th Dec, 2009. The winners were:

  • Tata Consultancy Services
  • Infosys
  • Wipro

The Individual Championship was help on 19th-20th December, 2009. It had 160+ participants, including many rated players, chess coaches and experienced national players. I had my moments in chess at college, city and state level, but still was an unrated corporate chess fan on paper. With a strong playing field, it was a challenge to come in top-20 and get the chance to play with Anand. Following is a picture story of the event as it progressed.

First Day First round! I was seeded 136th out of 150. The last national level event I played was All India Inter University Chess in 2001. The tournament was played in Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium, the playing hall was surrounded with portraits of popular cricket players of Karnataka state.


Chinnaswamy Stadium hosts many international matches. View from just outside
the playing hall. The day ended with five wins and two draws for me.

Anand made surprise visit on the first day, welcome with open arms by tournament organizer Mr Aloke Biswas of Maam Entertainment. I was still playing and went frantic seeing him in the playing hall. My opponent was more focused and got confused at sudden widening of my face and focus shifting away from board on my own move. I drew and ran to the conference hall to catch a glimpse of the king. My wife accompanied me on both days, and she took this photo and video of the conference. She became a fan of Anand within two days. What she noted most was how Anand handles success.

20th Dec Sunday, the final day. There were three rounds left. I won the first one against second seed, and the second round was with the third seed and then tournament leader. Beating him made me leader of the pack with alone on 8/9 points, with one more round to go. Top 20 was assured now and I was going to play with Anand in the simul!

I just needed a draw to win the championship in the final round. ...and I messed it up with an opening mistake. Credit to my opponent who exploited it in the right manner. So with my first loss of the tournament, I still managed third position and a podium finish.

Tournament was over, now schedule was:

  • Anand's Press conference
  • Simultaneous against top 20 players
  • Closing Ceremony + Prize Distribution

The Champion arrived along with representative of NIIT (who must be thanked for making this event possible). Press and public went frantic and it was a fabulous interaction with Anand. His charming way of handling questions filled the conference hall with laughter and happy mood. I asked three questions:

  1. Any change in your team of seconds with Kramnik, for Topalov. Or will you disclose it on the eve of the match. (It was not Carlsen but Neilson whom he mentioned!)
  2. You think Nigel Short can help you take care of Chepanirov psychologically?
  3. What kind of black magic does Aronian knows?!

His answers can be found in the videos.

Benefits of being in top three. In blue Jacket is Vedant Goswami, the eventual winner. He runs the Bangalore Chess Academy and does a lot for game’s promotion. A worthy winner of the event. Second was Pratik Sengupta, who beat me in the last round. I was happily third with simul to look forward to!


Ready for the most important chess game of my life!

This one I had no feeling for winning or losing, just playing was so satisfying. Fan portraits were itching to be autographed, the gift copy of the poster shown above is wrapped in red.

The dream begins. The top 20 players seated as per their positions. I have given simuls myself in college days, and I know it takes a toll on the playing strength. One person managed a drawish position and I was the luckiest person on the planet to have a better one.

Anand surrounded by a fan, fan articles and black pieces. Sadly, the simul wasn’t allowed to finish due to time constraints, as we had to do with a final position analysis with Anand.


My slightly unfocussed Dream Moment – receiving the trophy from Anand!

It’s like I rose back from the dead in chess for this tournament. Anand was very special! He was all smiles for me and my wife the entire time. We both were star struck fans taking videos and photos as much as we could. He didn’t disappoint any of his autograph and photo seeking endless fans. I will never forget his large-hearted gesture to appreciate my simul game with him during analysis and in the closing ceremony. I was an unforgettable event for me. Anand is a true champion and I am his true fan forever.

The Simul Game

Vishwanathan Anand - Suneet Singh Mausil
Bangalore Simul 2009 [Suneet Mausil]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6. I tried to follow Anand-Aronian Linares 2009.

5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 Be7 7.Qc2 0-0 8.Rd1 h6 9.Bh4 Re8 10.a3 a6 11.c5 Nh5 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Be2 Nhf6 14.b4 e5 15.0-0 e4 16.Nd2 Nh7

I defended the queenside with a6, Nd7 and leaving the queen's bishop and rook on their original squares. I thought Anand is hoping that I will try to do something more to counter his queenside advancing of pawns and pieces. I had counter attack in mind on his kingside.

17.Na4 f5 18.Nb3 g5 19.Rde1 g4 20.Na5 Ng5 21.Kh1 Kh8 22.Bd1 Rg8 23.f4 Nh7 24.Nc3 Ndf6 25.a4 g3

After g3, black owns the g-file for attack. The queen’s bishop and rook can join the attack in just two moves.

26.h3 Ng4 27.Nb3 Qh4 28.Qd2 Nh2 29.Bc2 Nf6 30.Ra1 Nxf1

I missed 30…Nfg4, which wins instantly! The first knight takes a big defender rook out and the second knight ready to follow the first knight's trail (23...Nh7 was its preparation). White's other pieces will have trouble helping the king side.

31.Rxf1 Ng4 32.Kg1 Nf2

Unfortunately, at this point the simul was paused. Organizers had schedule and timing issues, which led to pausing of games. An analysis with Anand was granted. [Click to replay]

Evaluation with Fritz gives around -3.0 in final position, which goes upto -7.0 in next couple of moves. I did take one rook with first knight, but the second knight was planned as a sacrifice with mating attack to follow. The same was discussed in analysis and Anand acknowledged that black can breakthrough.


Vishwanathan Anand-Suneet S Mausil (final position with Fritz analysis). Anand allowed me to do well
in this game, which took few minutes of his time and two days of my hard work to qualify for.

In the final position, the Nxh3 threat wins for black! White has options of either taking the knight or waiting for its sacrifice on h3, both opens the g-file for black rooks and mating attack follows. Queen side moves can only delay it. In all variants it is over for white in a few more moves.


Analysis video with Anand

Anand was very generous to acknowledge this during analyzing (above video) and in the closing ceremony address. He is a true champion. I think he gifted me this game in return of the collage poster that I gave him at start of the simul. Personally, playing him was a huge satisfaction and result of a simul game is meaningless in serious context. I am and always will be his true fan and will take this simul game as an unforgettable gift from him!

The Tournament Details

Participation: 25 teams and around 200 individuals.

Companies participating: Manipal Acunova, Apollo Hospital, Avanade Technology Group, Accenture, Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant, CGI, Ness, LIC, Oracle, Huawei, SAP, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Tyco, Intel, HP, Deustche Network, Texas Instruments, Biocon, Aurigene, HURC, GE, TCS, Siemens, NOUS Infosystems, Cegidim, Aricent, Mcafee, Price Water House, VMware, Fidelity, HP, Mobiledevz, IBM, AOL, Mphasis, Huawei, Quest, Paddyfield, OpenSilicon etc.

Results: Team Championship (top three)

1

TCS

2

Infosys

3

Wipro

Results: Individual Championship (Top 20 – participants who played Anand)

1

Vedant Goswami,

Bangalore Chess Academy & TPI AD Services

2

Pratik Sengupta,

TCS

3

Suneet Singh Mausil,

Mobiledevz Technologies

4

Aman Chandra,

Wipro

5

Jagdish HD,

TCS

6

Srinivas G,

Pushpahas Inc

7

Dinakar Ramprasad,

Siemens

8

Vivek Nambar,

Huawei

9

Mahendran T,

ITDC

10

Salil

Texas I

11

Raghuraman

TCS

12

Arun Srinivas

TCS

13

K Suresh

Open Silicon

14

Ravi Prakash SM

LIC

15

Dhirendranath TR

CGI

16

Manjunath Keshava

CGI

17

Shashanth Gopalkrishna

Infosys

18

Murlidhar GK

BEL

19

Tejas V Chitnis

Intel

20

Robert Kenedy

ATG

Message from the Organzier:

Dear Friends

Five months back when we dreamed of organising a chess championship in the memory of my mother Late. Leela Biswas, we solemnly pledged to follow her footsteps and try to popularise the game at grass root levels. To do so, we needed the help of corporates like you, be it in the form of a player or a sponsor & of course Vishy. Hence, while we wanted you to join us in our journey, we also wanted to give back something worthwhile to you. God, has been kind enough to guide us through this journey of five months and provide us with that wonderful 'present' to gift to you in the form of ‘Vishy’. We request you to join us in thanking the ‘almighty’ for providing us with such a ‘rewarding experience’. Now we feel confident that we will be able to achieve our goal.

We hope that most of you have enjoyed every moment of the championship and taken back a lot of good things from it. We hope that you have no regrets in associating with this championship and all of you have become ‘richer’ in experience. Even, if we are able to absorb a miniscule percentage of Vishy’s qualities which we were fortunate enough to observe from such close quarters on sunday, we will become a much better human being than what we are today.

We would like to put on record the tremendous support and encouragement we have received from Mr. Sunil Dhaiya, Mr. Prateek Chatterjee & Ms. Neelam Madan of NIIT; Mr. Vikram Khanna of ING Life Insurance; Mr. Parag Das & Mr. Singaravelu Rajashekhar of Maruti Suzuki; Ms. Geetha of C Krishniah Chetty & Sons, Mr. Manish Jain & his students of IBA, Mr. Prithvi Negi of Times Card, Mr. Gurpreet Singh & Mr. Nirmal Rajani of UB; Mr. Hanumantha, Mr. Vasanth & all the members of UKCA; Dr. S Krishnamurthy & Mr. Brijesh Patel of KSCA; Mr. V Narayan Swamy & Mr. Shrivasthsa Sridhar of Times of India; Mr. Ravi V Melwani of RVM Humanitarian Network & Ms. Mom Banerjee. 

God Bless and we look forward to meet you in the 2nd. edition of NIIT Corporate Chess Championship 2010 next year. Wishing you, your family and colleagues, a very successful 2010 in advance, we remain,

yours sincerely,

Arundhati & Aloke
MAAM Entertainment


About the author

I was introduced to chess by my father at an early age, but it was only when I was 15 that I played my first tournament. Since then the never ending love began and it is carrying on strongly. I won a few city, college and state level tournaments and even gave a few simuls. Though I am now an entrepreneur whose life revolves around corporate concepts and strategies. I have organized chess events and even wrote a chess software, playing chess is limited to Internet blitz and serious tournaments were avoided for years. Even in my current venture Mobiledevz Technologies I wrote a small chess software which won award from Sun Microsystems. I try to stay in touch with chess as a player, programmer and promoter. Here is my web site.

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