Anand: 'In chess, 40 is the new 50'

9/15/2016 – Recently Susan Ninan met Vishy Anand at his home in Chennai to do an interview for ESPN India. The thing which separates this interview from many others we have read in the past is the detail and candour with which Vishy answers the questions related to age and aging, tackling younger opponents, fatherhood, staying relevant in an evolving sport – and, inevitably, to retirement. We reproduce this interview along with some very interesting historical pictures.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!

Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!


Anand: 'In chess, 40 is the new 50'

By Susan Ninan, ESPN

Susan Ninan met Vishy Anand at his home in Chennai to do an interview for the ESPN website. The thing which separates this interview from many others we have read in the past is the detail and candour with which Vishy anwers the questions related to age and aging, tackling younger opponents, fatherhood, staying relevant in an evolving sport – and, inevitably, to retirement. We now reproduce this interview, published on ESPN, along with some very interesting historical pictures.

It is no typical year. At least not for Viswanathan Anand. For the first time in close to a decade, he finds himself not in contention for the world title. For the first time in his career, age seems to be a factor; at 46 Anand is clearly the elder statesman in a sport that is increasingly peopled by players roughly half his age. Magnus Carlsen's world title match with Sergey Karjakin, slated for November in New York, will in fact be the youngest-ever World Championship clash by a yawning distance. At his most recent major tournament, the Candidates in March this year, Anand had some decisive games but his unimpressive showing with black pieces led him to finish with 7.5 points out of a possible 14.

When Susan Ninan of ESPN meets him, on a typically ruthless Chennai afternoon, Anand is at home, in every sense of the word. He breaks into a laugh when he realises that the inscription on the door leading to his room – "Vishy in da house" – has not gone unnoticed. Settling into a chair against a giant wall cabinet packed with trophies and memorabilia, he rests his hands on the table, leans forward and listens to the questions intently, sometimes with a furrowed brow, often smiling, even at the unflattering ones.

The conversation turns swiftly to age and aging, tackling younger opponents, fatherhood, staying relevant in an evolving sport – and, inevitably, to retirement. He handles it all with humour and grace, and not a little wistfulness – understandable, since this is the only kind of life he has lived and known.

Susan Ninan: This is the first time in close to a decade that you are not part of a World Championship match. How do you deal with a year that does not revolve around the WCh?

Anand: It's funny but I've almost forgotten. It's true that in 2009, '11 and '15 I didn't have World Championship matches so it's not that I've forgotten the feeling of a non-WCh year, but basically from 2007 I've been involved in every single one. I think I played extremely well at the Candidates. Obviously I was inconsistent and there were severe problems, especially with the black pieces. So I should take some time and focus on those things, apart from my rating. The WCh is a difficult thing to qualify for and play so you shouldn't assume that you'll always be there. The moment you're not there it's not a disaster.

Five of the eight players at Candidates this year were in their 20s. Do you feel the age gap in chess has widened over the years?

This was happening all the time in chess. Topalov also made this point that 15 years ago, people like (Anatoly) Karpov and Ljubojevic, the generation of the 50's, were struggling against us. For them it was happening when they were 50-plus, and for us slightly earlier maybe. It's a constant process in chess, just that it's happening at a slightly earlier age now. I played my first Candidates before three of them were born or maybe one was a toddler. That's how long I've been playing Candidates and it was the first one for many of them.

Anand has had a good rapport with the players of younger generation like Anish Giri

Roger Federer said a couple of months ago that the likes of him and footballer Francesco Totti belong to a special breed of athletes and should be protected like pandas. Your thoughts? Do you feel you too belong to that league?

Yes. It's a witty remark. Earlier it used to be thought that in chess it didn't matter so much till you were 60. But now it's clear that 40 is the new 50. The average age is dropping. Chess players though I think are a decade further than players in physical sports. There are very few of us in the top ten. Two or three of us who've even frequented that. (Vladimir) Kramnik, (Boris) Gelfand, (Vassily) Ivanchuk, me and (Veselin) Topalov – this was the group that was there in the 90s and is still there. But slowly you can see some new ones are breaking through, like (Fabiano) Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and (Anish) Giri. I still find it interesting to compete against them and others.

"What is beginning to become clear to me is that I'll play as long as I enjoy it. So far I'm having enough good results that I feel motivated to keep playing."

How did you view older players when you were young? Has it changed over the years?

Young players are always very cocky and I probably was as well. For me the older players just seemed to be part of the furniture, part of the background. I grew up reading about (Anatoly) Karpov and (Lev) Polugaevsky, and they were always there and then I was quite surprised when suddenly they were no longer around. When I reached the top, I played against them which was a natural thing to do. Then one fine day you realise that they are dropping out. They haven't qualified for one event or another and soon enough they're not playing anymore. When you're young you don't sit and think about these things too much. But one day these things accumulate and they suddenly drop out and you wonder what happened. Obviously that will happen to every generation.

My Career vol. 1+2

by Viswanathan Anand

born in 1969, acclaimed as the fastest brain in the world, is the fifteenth World Champion. Experts rate him as one of the biggest natural talents in the history of the game. In March 2007 he reached the number one spot on the world ranking lists. In September 2007 Anand won the World Championship for the second time in his career when in Mexico he became the undisputed World Chess Champion, ending a schism in the chess world which had lasted for many years. He defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008 and also against Veselin Topalov in 2010. If his talent as a rapid chess player is legendary, his records in classical chess have been superlative. In January 2006 he became the only player in the tournament's 70-year history to win the Corus Chess event five times (1989, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2006). He has won the Linares Super Tournament twice (1998 and 2007), the Dortmund GM three times (1996, 2000 and 2004), and countless other important events like, Madrid Masters, Biel, etc.

Order My Career by Anand in the ChessBase Shop

What are the greatest challenges for players of your generation today?

Probably the same challenges as faced by everyone else. No unique challenges. Maybe we just find it harder. So everyone is drowning in all this computer information, learning new things. The speed in which chess evolves, if you generate an idea you can probably use it just once since everyone else figures it out then. These are general trends which affect all players; it's just that it's possibly harder for our generation of players.

As someone who has been bred on the chessboard, how have you adapted to new-age technology-powered chess?

Clearly I've migrated as well. I was a junior when computers started to come around and I'm fairly used to it. But the thing is that my thought process at the very base is slightly different from those who have been bred on computers. In general, what's happening in today's chess is that there are no dogmas anymore. Your judgement is not as important as facts. For instance, you can no longer can say you don't like a particular move. If it works, somebody will play it.

Anand in 1988, working with Atari and watched by Thomas, son of Frederic Friedel, founder of ChessBase

Today's generation is less dogmatic and more open to all sorts of unusual experiments and are much more flexible thanks to the effect of the computer. My generation does that with a little bit of lag or hesitation. Everyone works with computers now so there are no hold-outs anymore. But yes, to the extent of the thought process, there's a little bit of a lag, and it's something you have to fight against. You have to learn to see the world in a new way which the younger generation I feel finds slightly easier.

What can players like you can learn from the current generation?

We need to learn to be more open minded, less dogmatic and not be obsessed with our own view points about the game. The computer is constantly showing exceptions to every rule and you have to keep an open mind.

How difficult is it to shed knowledge to adapt to changing conventions?

It's not as much about shedding knowledge as it is about shedding certain habits. Like when you look at a position, if your own likes and dislikes about that come very strongly first, then you are very resistant towards it. It is about re-ordering your way of thinking to take into account more possibilities. Consistently what I've learnt over the years is that chess is much richer than we thought it used to be. Computers have played a huge role in showing us that, and you genuinely have to force yourself to look broader.

How would you define your fitness regimen and how has the thrust on the physical aspect in chess evolved over the years?

One of the biggest changes in chess is the growing importance of the physical aspect. Even during a game you'll see players bringing some special juice, concoction, energy buzz or even a banana. At some point, maybe in three hours, suddenly you see them go and consume this stuff and return. All this focus on diet and fitness is starting to come in.

Maybe 20 years ago it was not all that important. It was just very basic. A good walk in the evening to clear your head. Then people started going to the gym, playing sports just to be able to cope. Now they're even doing things in slightly more scientific ways, like paying attention to one's diet among other things. As for me, I do whatever I can. For me it's as much as about getting rid of tension where you've still not detached yourself from the game that's finished.

Physical fitness the key for sustaining at the highest level in chess (Picture credit: The Hindu)

I find cardios, very useful and running in the gym helps clear thoughts and aids in good sleep. I also find things like stretching helpful for paying attention to my posture because even when I'm sitting there during a game for long hours, I want to be comfortable.

One of the more fascinating things you've said about reading your opponents has to do with listening to their breathing. What's that about?

When you're sitting across someone, you unconsciously tend to listen to their breathing and become attuned to it. Invariably, at that level of proximity, if your opponent holds his breath or moves, or stops moving, you tend to take notice. If this is in an innocent position, I don't give it much thought, but, in a tense position, if my opponent suddenly holds his breath I ask myself 'Did he make a mistake, let me have a look'. So this information is in addition to what I get on the chess board.

How relevant do you think your 'Lightning Kid' epithet is in today's age?

This article by V. Kameswaran, when Anand was 12, is the reason why people started calling Vishy the "Lightning Kid"

I don't play that fast anymore. Occasionally out of habit I feel like playing fast, but I've found that there's a lot to think about. Some of it is due to the fact that preparation has changed. There is so much preparation work you do that at the board you're constantly straightening your thoughts. Since you remember all sorts of ideas from all sorts of things you looked at in the morning, you spend a lot of time trying to make it coherent and understand the precise sequence in which it has to be executed. So you need to spend some time on that and there's also the fact that I've found that I take better decisions when I spend a few minutes on each one so it's possible now that I'm much slower than I used to be.

Has the importance of remembering games from memory lessened over the years?

That's evolving. My memory used to be very good when there were less games to remember. Now, maybe it's happening naturally – getting better at remembering only the things I need to. A non-chess example would be earlier, before mobile phones came about, I knew at least 30 phone numbers by heart – embassy, sponsors, parents, friends, etc. Now there are possibly just three that I can recall from memory. The same has happened in chess. It's more important to remember the critical moments and what you're supposed to play rather than every move of every game. So over time your brain switches.

Back in the 90s Anand was the brand Ambassador for companies selling memory pills!

Is there a conscious tendency to work with young seconds when you're facing younger players?

It's not specifically for my opponent that I do it. It's good to work with new players because you get exposed to different ways of thinking, and these days that is the also the dominant trend. There are far more younger players floating around so you tend to work with them. But the nature of work has changed. It's almost impossible to find someone exclusive anymore. If you work with someone you find that he has worked with 40 others already (some of it may just be a weekend session or over the Internet), possibly with every single person you can think of. So it's a much looser way of working than it was 20-30 years ago when one would have dedicated seconds who would stay with you for ten years and so on. Nowadays everybody has worked with everyone.

What was running through your head when Harikrishna briefly overtook you as the No. 1 Indian?

To be honest, Hari has had a very impressive year and was winning points in almost every game which shows his consistency. Sasikiran once got to 2718 I think. As for myself, I thought blowing off 25 points in one tournament (Gibraltar 2016) was expensive.

Vishy Anand and Pentala Harikrishna at the start of Gibraltar 2016 (picture by Nisha Mohota)

Even if he was 2765 I would have been 20 points ahead of him. Still, it shows the depth in Indian chess. Even if you leave aside Hari, there's Sasi who's very strong, there's Surya (Sekhar Ganguly) who's winning tournaments and then there's Adhiban, Sethuraman, Aravind Chithambaram. They're all pushing each other, so I'm hoping Hari and I will be joined by quite a few guys. Earlier it was Hari and Sasi in the 2600s and the next group in the 2500s. Now it's thickening in the 2600s and not only pushing upwards, but they're all doing it together which suggests that their rivalries are also playing apart.

Of course the chess scene is very crowded these days. We are definitely getting stronger in the qualitative sense if not in numbers. So if you put any of these players in a top tournament, they wouldn't be out of place and there are more and more Indian players of whom you could say that. They'll need the right breaks at the right time to show their strength. It's only when they get a chance that we will really know.

When do you think would be the right time for your Indian successor to take charge?

I'm hoping it won't happen. Well, it might happen very quickly that I stop or it may take a few more years. I would want a few guys to be there though when I'm on my way out. It's nice when Hari is close on my heels, that way I'm fired up to do even better.

How has fatherhood changed your approach towards the game?

I think the dominance of chess in my thoughts is lower now. I tell myself that I can spend an hour playing with Akhil now and work later. Also, I don't want to look back after a few years and think I didn't spend all the time I could with him. It's such a delightful age that you can let yourself go and I definitely don't want to miss out on that. I rearrange my day to work on chess according to his naptime or when he's away in school. So there's less time for chess in a sense.

Family over chess? Anand (with wife Aruna) says fatherhood has made him rethink his priorities (picture by ESPN)

"What's happening in today's chess is that there are no dogmas anymore. Your judgement is not as important as facts. For instance, you can no longer say you don't like a particular move. If it works, somebody will play it."

How many more years of competitive chess do you see in yourself?

I don't know. I don't see that I have to make that decision nor do I see that I have to plan for it. What is also beginning to become clear to me is that I'll play as long as I enjoy it. Clearly, enjoyment implies a certain amount of results. I mean, you can handle some bad results but if you're mostly having bad results you're not having fun. So if at some point it stops being fun, I'll stop. So far I'm having enough good results that I feel motivated to keep playing. Otherwise I enjoy playing chess and it's not that I'm just ticking boxes. It could all turn suddenly.

Do you dwell on life after chess?

Yes I do. Nowadays very often when I'm at tournaments, I wonder what it would be like if I'm not playing. It's not that such thoughts never crossed my mind before, it's just that it's happening with greater frequency now. My mind does wander in that direction. I would want to be involved with the game even after I've stopped playing at the competitive level. What I've observed is that if something has dominated your life, it's very hard to walk away 100% from it. So you might want to be associated with it or interact in other ways and then gradually lessen the time it dominates your life. But I think it's a mistake to do a cold turkey where you leave the sport and completely switch to something else. An academy is one of the things I'd be certainly looking at. Also I'll continue trying to get chess into schools.

When you're not playing, how do you unwind?

Nowadays it's just whatever we get time for. If it's a short break, we do that or go out with friends. It's not that I don't have free time, it's that I don't have big chunks when there's nothing to do. Now it's just more opportunistic. I actually liked several movies I watched recently – Martian, The Big Short, Bajirao Mastani, Bridge of Spies. As far as music goes, nowadays I just put the radio on and let it go wherever it goes.

What could be a possible trigger to call it quits at this stage of your career?

If I feel that I'm not getting anywhere anymore. If I feel that I'm not progressing and only going downwards. I don't know exactly what that looks like, but it should be fairly obvious when it happens. I don't see a situation where I'm having great tournament results and not having fun. So if my results take a permanent dip downwards it might be a good time to stop.

About the author

Susan Ninan, formally with The Times of India, now works at ESPN. She writes on a host of sporting disciplines, tennis and chess, and especially Vishy Anand, being among the favourites. Loves books, cats and travel.


Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register

indeevar indeevar 9/19/2016 02:33
I am also disappointed that Anand did not take part in Olympiad not just recent one but few earlier ones. In fact I think he skipped more Olympiads than he participated (need to check real data). Of course its his personal decision to skip but as an Indian I would like to see Indian flag flying high in chess Olympiad and Anand contributing to it.
Before making conclusions like "he did not take part because of ratings" etc (hard to believe this because most of the chess elite participate in Olympiad) . Can some journalist get an "official response" from Anand? I am most puzzled about his absence in such high level level &prestigious tournament that too not just once but many times.

Can some journalist take up and let chess fans & Anand fans know the real reason behind his absence in many Olympiads?
UnknowledgeablePatzer UnknowledgeablePatzer 9/18/2016 03:48
For all those disgruntled Indian chess fans - thanks for the entertainment. Good job!

Chessbase - Nice interview but would be nice to see such interviews from other top players too like Naka or Caruana for example.
David Herz David Herz 9/17/2016 10:23
A more gracious, gentlemanly, civil and solidly human representative of this sport would be hard to find. The negative comments about his non-participation in the Olympics can't detract from his overall record, which is truly easy to denigrate
islaw islaw 9/17/2016 06:07
Insightful as usual.
amarpan amarpan 9/17/2016 02:12
With the world championship coming up in 2 months, it was natural for one to use the opportunity to ask Anand what his opinions are on the players chances of winning. This lady seems to be so obsessed with Anand that she chose to just ask questions about him and nothing else.
DJones DJones 9/17/2016 08:59
Yes now this is an important article. Thank you ChessBase, namely, Susan Ninan and ESPN for this broad reaching interview.
Reshuaggarwal Reshuaggarwal 9/17/2016 07:35
Some people are so arrogant, we Indians are not worthy of our Gandhi's & Vishy's.
Total disrespect being shown here to one of our living legends.
shashank5 shashank5 9/17/2016 04:34
After more than 25 years of playing for India, it's funny to see some people still question his patriotism.
Who cares about chess Olympiad and it's medals. Do you think it has the same popularity as Olympics?
As an Indian I will say, Anand's 5 WC titles give more prestige to our country than any chess Olympiad medals.
How many people remember who won medals in last Olympiad.
You cannot degrade Anand's accomplishments and shame him just because he does not play in Olympiad.
He is the god father of indian chess and it will be decades before anyone in India could match his accomplishments in chess. Whether he plays in Olympiad or not, it's his choice nobody deserves to ask him a question.
tablerotico tablerotico 9/16/2016 07:17
If Anand continues playing in the Olympiad, then the new generation (Adhiban, Santosh, Sethuraman or Karthikeyan) won't grow as a team with Harikrishna called to win the Olympiad in the next decade.
Anand has done a lot for Indian chess and he shouldn't be blamed for not playing the Olympiad or the Indian National Championship... A couple of simuls would be better incentive to give that playing experience to a major group of players.
yesenadam yesenadam 9/16/2016 05:39
Nice interview, and interesting comments. My favourite was: "" Chess + Anand " has become as "isolated system".. I wish it had become isothermal system. There are many more ways for being happy than getting Individual Level Success. Anand should venture outside the pond now ... He should become a Sea Animal...Broad HEarted ... Broad minded ... stop biting his nails when position is worse and embrace everything with more heart-fully than egoishly ... " Now that's just great writing!! :-) Only great writers come up with vivid, living metaphors like that. 'He should become a Sea Animal...' - I think that's the best sentence I've ever read on this site. hehe.
Hamsuns Hamsuns 9/16/2016 09:07
Strange how some of you tend to take the right to comment on someone else's life as though the person debts you something. Anand is a family man and chess is his job. How he organizes his time regarding to his job or family is entirely his business. How would you feel when someone you do not even know starts commenting on how you organize your life and even becomes rude in words about it?
thlai80 thlai80 9/16/2016 05:55
Actually, Anand did mention he will not play Olympiad as it will be a risk to his rating, so to those who defended him by brushing off this reason is incorrect. While a good guy at the top, notice his remark of staying #1 at India for as long as possible. I can understand fellow India fans who are pissed by Anand's move on Olympiad, as he put himself above the country. Practically everyone else has huge pride in playing for their country in Olympiad. All the top #10 played, even Kasparov had anchored Russia until he retired. I do remember Anand had some kind of conflict with AICF before, but that was like many years ago.
muralidharan_aero muralidharan_aero 9/16/2016 05:26
Chess is his job, not a game, when you have taken that as profession. He needs to make money. World has seen many great chess players, gone scrap just because could not make life out chess.

 It is very easy to get lost and our real face will be out in sport like chess, he maintains the dignity all the time and a perfect gentleman. I can show him as model to my son.

 Love for mother, language and country is understandable. If it is too much, it is kind of extremism. Wont do any good. It is upto to him decide which one to take. He made his life. 
Abraxas79 Abraxas79 9/16/2016 01:14
I have to agree. Not playing for India at the Olympiad is shameful, although I do not think Anand would have any better results then Harikrishna on board one, it would have added more depth to the team, and possibly resulted in India winning a medal.

I think Anand continues to play because of the money. He hasn't made any retirement plans that I am aware of, and does not promote Chess in India at all. He could easily transition into retirement by teaching chess, coaching, broadcasting, and continue to play exhibition matches, simuls etc much like Karpov and Kasparov have done, and possibly make even more coin then he does at present. Perhaps though Anand lacks the temperament for this type of work and simply wants to make as much money as he possibly can, while he can and then sail on into the sunset.
Queenslander Queenslander 9/15/2016 11:35
40 might well be the new 50 but only for 2600+ players
Bountyhunter82 Bountyhunter82 9/15/2016 09:45
I disagree with his age comment, look at Kasparov recent blitz tournament result-awesome. Kasparov defeated Naka several times. Plus Gelfand and Anand in Wch match proves he is wrong.

Chess players make up rules as if they fit everything. The age rule I feel is slightly true but a little bunk.
fightingchess fightingchess 9/15/2016 08:35
@digupagal go back to your cave.
digupagal digupagal 9/15/2016 06:47
@vishyvishy your opinions dont matter, he will do what he wants to.
Him, Kasparov, Karpov, Kramnik, Topalov, Chucky all deserve to carry their superiority complex if they have any. You or any ordinary player / follower should first get enough credibility in your torn pockets before claiming to like/dislike him.
X iLeon aka DMG X iLeon aka DMG 9/15/2016 06:14
The title is no big philosophy. As life expectancy increases and people retain their youthful pursuits far later into life, in general 40 is the new 30 and 50 the new 40 and so on, for men at least (I'm not saying that in a sexist way, just, I'm a guy and I've noticed this - women may have similar of conflicting experiences to note)
fightingchess fightingchess 9/15/2016 06:06
anand is a legend because of the moves he makes on the board not his personality. he is no gentleman after losses.
flachspieler flachspieler 9/15/2016 05:56
My proposal for the Indian critics of Vishy Anand:

Be polite with your hero. He has done such a lot
for chess in your country - for many many years.

Best wishes from Germany!

By the way, many thanks to Susan Ninan
for this great interview!
karavamudan karavamudan 9/15/2016 05:28
sad that Vishy is getting criticised these days. Probably he should clear the air by stating his reasons for not playing Olympiad and we should respect his decision.
sivakumar R sivakumar R 9/15/2016 05:00
@vishyvishy - Very well said! Earlier there used to be an excuse that he lived in Spain (close to chess circuits) and hence did not play in Olympiads representing India. But, since I am from Chennai and live in the neighborhood of Anand, I am quite aware that he had spent substantial amount of time in Chennai and could easily have joined the Olympiad squad.
Anand is no gentleman... in spite of his great talent - as an Indian, I am never proud of him.....
gmwdim gmwdim 9/15/2016 04:42
Maybe the Indian team will recruit 60 year old Anand to their 2030 Olympiad team and he will put up a monster score on board 4!
hariharansivaji9 hariharansivaji9 9/15/2016 04:37
I totally agreed with him not playing in Olympiad, its a right decision to give way to the younger generation to get experience in big tournaments. Hari performed very well in top board, he got chances to beat Karjakin also. Vidit got a good run. as well as Adhiban and Sethu.. Its good for Indian chess and more over it shows India had a talents other than Anand.
vishyvishy vishyvishy 9/15/2016 04:21
@kings , I will always blame Anand.
After getting WCH Title He should have played Indian National Championships. Let the youngsters get a taste of playing against him. I remember He has somewhere said that " His Rating Does not allows this!" What Nonsense!
...In Olympiad if he does not want to play. Fine. Become a fifth player. If does not like that too. Become a Coach and go with the team. Guide them. Playing as a Team and winning always gives more pleasure over Individual accomplishment. Anand does not have much taste of this. or may be some hidden superiority complex is there...who knows!
He says until chess motivates me I will play chess. I wish he had said until it gives pleasure grooming young Indian players, making India a Force in the Chess World, playing as a team in Olympiad and performing a Team gives motivation I will play chess.
...But he is too occupied with his marriage with chess. " Chess + Anand " has become as "isolated system".. I wish it had become isothermal system. There are many more ways for being happy than getting Individual Level Success. Anand should venture outside the pond now ... He should become a Sea Animal...Broad HEarted ... Broad minded ... stop biting his nails when position is worse and embrace everything with more heart-fully than egoishly ...
kings kings 9/15/2016 03:56
Dont blame Anand for not playing Olympiads. I dont think that he has the intention that if he played Olympiad his Elo will go down. Note that he was playing (for India) several Olympiads and stopped around 10 years ago. He played in Gibraltar only this year (2016). So, obviously he did not choose not to play Olympiad 2016 because of his poor performance in Gibraltar. There should be some other reason. You should be able to guess how the Indian sports authorities behave and treat the sports personalities. He would have had some bitter experience with the sports authorities or with Indian politicians and it is Anand's meganimus that he does not reveal anything on that. In one of the recent interviews, Anand said, he had contributed enough his part in Olympiad and it is dusted now (I suppose, it is verbatim here. Anand said the same words "It is dusted". That gave room to speculate what would have happened to him). You say Caruvana is playing Olympiad, Magnus is playing Olympiad, etc. Recall that Anand came into limelight in the late 80's itself and from his peak time, he was playing Olympiad for several times. He does not need to play for India anymore. There are lots of youngsters in India who are doing chess very well. Note that, without Anand, last time we won bronze and this time also we are very close (4th place). So, dont blame Anand, he is legend and is a nice person. He is not deserved to get such comments from fans like you.
digupagal digupagal 9/15/2016 01:49
chess is an individual sport, you guys are not paying him salary to perform. He can decide (whether to play olympiad / retire) about his own life.

He does not ask you to make him your favorite player. Imagine how annoyed he must get when a bunch of noplayers/general public/ordinary amateurs want him to do this/that.

Now you will say, blah blah blah......we support him, we are his followers. The country honored him so much etc. etc., i bet Vishy will say "he never asked for it"

Also India's contribution towards Vishy becoming "Vishy" was "zero". Suring his times, virtually from nothing and on his own he started the chess revolution in India. If not for him, i bet we would not have this talented pool. What more can you ask from a guy?

AFAIK, and just to enlighten you kids over here, he decided not to play Olympiads few years back due to some problems / issues with Indian Fed., and he has continued with that. Also he is absolutely on the path of retirement now.

You guys know how much we Indians worship Sachins and Virats, you would better know whether we have honored him aptly. Also IMO he has done enough for India already, If not for him Harikrishna would not have taken up chess, and he would agree. Infact it is just a miracle that guys like Vishy, Vladi, Chucky continue to compete against these computer kids at the highest level.

Respect guys !!
tom_70 tom_70 9/15/2016 01:26
Ivanchuk is playing checkers nowadays, not chess.
LearnZ LearnZ 9/15/2016 11:13
Why he did not play this year's olympiad?
thlai80 thlai80 9/15/2016 11:01
That's why Ivanchuk is my favourite player, the only guy totally dedicated to chess, irrespective of ELO and keep playing as long as the opportunity presents itself.
KOTLD KOTLD 9/15/2016 10:05
@VishyVishy, I totally agree with you. Also, I disagreed with a few of Anand's remarks in this interview. What's going on with this guy? Looking for excuses to blame? I used to be much more of an Anand fan.
pojose pojose 9/15/2016 10:03
shame anand. I have same opinion. Just for his personal rating, he refuses to play in olympiad. I guess only he is missing in olympiad out of top 10. Why?
India will most likely make it into top 3 if he plays. Coming to rating it is upto his play but he will surely get good opponents.
Shame again. Learn from Carlsen at least this!!!
vishyvishy vishyvishy 9/15/2016 08:27
It is Shame that Anand No longer plays Olympiad for India,...May be some lower rated player will beat him and he will lose ratings ... But what more achievements he is now waiting for ???why is he protecting his rating than serving his country???...Magnus plays... Caruana plays...Kramnik plays ... I feel this very sad as an Indian