Anand: I approach Sochi with positive feelings

11/6/2014 – "I am in general happy with my chess performance this year," says former World Champion Vishy Anand, who has gone through a couple of subpar years. But his convincing victory in the Candidates in Khanty Mansiysk and Bilbao earlier this year has given him an optimistic outlook on the upcoming World Championship, that starts in a few days. Interview.

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I approach Sochi with positive feelings

Interview with Five Time World Champion and NIIT Mindchampion Viswanathan Anand on Eve of World Chess Championship 2014

6th November

Fantastic from, favourable results in 2014 and it is no wonder that five time World Champion and NIIT MindChampion Viswanathan Anand is approaching the forthcoming World Chess Championship 2014 at Sochi with a quiet confidence and a positive frame of mind. After losing the title to Magnus Carlsen of Norway last year at Chennai, Anand played powerfully at the Candidates tournament this year in March to brush past seven other contenders (Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov included), remained unbeaten and earned the right to be the Challenger to Carlsen. In the Category 21 Bilbao Masters Anand once again exhibited tremendous form to win with a round to spare. The Indian gunning for his sixth title, in a candid chat with Manisha Mohite shares his thoughts about the forthcoming clash in Sochi, Russia.

Question: Sochi as venue?

Anand: Sochi is great venue and Aruna was very impressed when she inspected it a few months back. They have held the F1 and hosted the winter Olympics. So I think it will be excellent. Russian chess audiences are always chess appreciative and even warm weather should be good.

Q. Your approach to this Match?

A. I am in general happy with my chess performance this year. Actually in 2013, I had some good results but those were marred by a few bad losses. In 2014, I was more consistent in Khanty Mansiysk and Bilbao and played the chess I enjoy playing. So I would say I approach Sochi with positive feelings.

Q. Six WCC matches since 2007. Isn’t that a whole lot?

A. Really six in seven years, I didn’t realise it. Like I said, I really compete with myself. There have been times when you think you have had enough and always, after a few moments you realise: No, you always want more! Chess for me is something that I am fascinated with. I still realize that there are so many openings to learn from, to explore more. New variations to uncover, the ones that can blow the lid off, making months of work redundant. Still, when I start work on chess, I feel like a six year old with a chessboard, waiting at Tal Club to play Blitz.

Q. Magnus as an opponent now?

A. He has achieved a lot and is tenacious in his play. He will definitely come to Sochi motivated.

Q. On permanent second Peter Nielsen joining Carlsen Camp?

A. Peter is a very nice person. I was quite touched that he sent me a picture of their baby from the hospital, almost the same way I sent Akhil’s photo.

Q. On Team Anand?

A. That will have to wait till the press conference. Ok I would like to admit that there have been changes on all fronts.

Q. Psychological under currents in the Match?

A. Every match does have its undercurrents. I don’t really believe in mind games or micro analysing media interviews or who said what. If it is relevant to chess, my team lets me know. Otherwise I do not read or follow chess news

Q. On personal equations with opponents?

A. It depends. Kramnik and I are very good friends. In fact he even helped me in 2010. I would count Boris Gelfand as my close friend in chess.

Q. Relaxing with preparations?

A. Well it has been fun to have some downtime and be with Akhil. For him, you are just his playmate. At home, I am asked to stay away at mealtimes as I am the biggest distraction. We play pillow fights and his latest is to bring a blanket and build a tree house. He likes to think he looks me out of the house and I have to pretend to be surprised each time. It is so wonderful that a child’s love and laughter is so selfless. Funnily now my number one songs are five little ducks and Mr Sun Sun ...

Q. On physical regime for the Match?

A. Yes I also try to keep a physical regimen even when I am not working on chess. I am looking forward to start playing. The team has worked well and hard and now we just hope it comes together in Sochi.

Q. Your activity on twitter?

A. I have been very active on twitter. You can see my regular updates on @vishy64theking.


NIIT Team Anand – TeamAnand@niit.com.

The #wish4vishy social media initiative is powered by NIIT, a leading Global Talent Development Corporation (www.niit.com) to enable chess enthusiasts across the world to wish for Five time World Chess Champion and NIIT MindChampion Viswanathan Anand at the World Chess Championship 2014 at Sochi, Russia.

NIIT and Vishy share a deep and enduring relationship, spanning over the last 15 years, making it one of the longest brand associations in the history of Indian sport. Together they have worked relentlessly to empower millions of school children across India by allowing them to apply the strategies and lessons drawn from chess to their academic pursuits through NIIT MindChampion’s Academy (MCA).

In the year 2002, NIIT and Viswanathan Anand jointly established NIIT MindChampions’ Academy (MCA), a not-for-profit initiative to promote Chess in schools to enable development of young minds. MCA has touched 1.65 million children in over 17,000 schools across India.

Over the years Vishy and NIIT have supported each through good times and bad. As the 2013 world championship rolled out in Chennai, wishes for Vishy poured in from chess enthusiasts and supporters across the world. #wish4vishy, a social media campaign that truly captured the imagination of people and drew unstinting emotional support from fans, was especially created by team NIIT who rallied around their Mind Champ, encouraging him at every point.

NIIT has all along been confident that Vishy will make a historical comeback and this has been proved right with his phenomenal win at FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2014. NIIT salutes his spirit of resilience and perseverance and applauds him for prominently placing India on the world chess map!


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tigerprowl tigerprowl 11/7/2014 10:49
If USA, France, or England devote as much to chess as Russia and produce chess champions then they should be allowed to host a world championship. For now, it is Russia. This has nothing to do with Putin or FIDE. Russia is still the backbone to chess. It is a good thing that it is in Sochi. Hopefully, America and China will step up their game and be a viable candidate to host in the future. But no more of this millionaire chess crap. Do it right next time.
ajedrezserio ajedrezserio 11/7/2014 12:11
Not a single word about FIDE and Putin's regime relationship and why a World Championship is played in a place like that, and not in New York, Paris, London, etc. Always so politically correct. Sad
Najdork Najdork 11/6/2014 11:58
I really don't understand why people say Anand has gone through a couple of "subpar years", he was never below 2770! I'd say instead he has been pretty consistent, just Carlsen was/is on another level.
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