“The current generation is a golden generation”: Anand on The Week

by ChessBase
9/16/2023 – In an interview published in India’s “The Week” magazine, Viswanathan Anand talked about young Indian talents, how the pandemic impacted chess, his ongoing career as a professional player, among other topics. Referring to his young compatriots, Anand said: “They are all in the 2,700-plus group (rating). And they are all under 20. That just does not happen; it is really something special”. | Photos: Amruta Mokal

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


“India is a superpower in chess now”

The interview, conducted by Riyad Mathew and Ayaz Memon, was published in The Week. Find a few excerpts below — find here the full text.

Vishy AnandQ/ Your protégé, Gukesh D., has overtaken you in the FIDE live ratings. Is it a bittersweet feeling?

A/ I am surprised that it remains slightly bittersweet. It is moderated by the fact that, yes, I have worked with him. He is with us in WestBridge Anand Chess Academy. So clearly I have contributed to that. Also, a couple of years ago, I semi-retired. So, for all these reasons it doesn’t really rankle or anything, but at the same time, for like 30 years you have something, you don’t think of it as a temporary feature, and then suddenly to have someone solidly above—he is at least three points above me. I felt a couple of years ago it was just a matter of time, so intellectually I understood it is going to happen, but still, there is a little bit.

Q/ In an earlier interview with THE WEEK, you said you now pick and choose the tournaments you want to play. When did you decide that?

A/ It happened at gunpoint of the pandemic. And then I thought, this is not so bad. One of the things in chess that you know will happen, but you never really want to start thinking about, is retirement. So, around 2019, I had this hard moment—[I thought about whether] I should keep competing at this level for this long. Because the payoff is going to keep getting lower and lower. I am going to be working much harder just to stand still. [I thought about if] there were other things that I wanted to try. Because it would be a great time to divert. Then the pandemic happened and I got a test run, so to speak. And I realised, this is not that bad.

Q/ When you look from the outside, there is a lot of intrigue about chess players. I think it has largely to do with the kind of image that Bobby Fischer created in that great contest with Boris Spassky. Reclusive, a little idiosyncratic, a little temperamental and stuff like that. What are chess players like?

A/ Certainly chess players are self-absorbed and very focused on their work. But I think not more than anybody in any walk of life. Probably both of you are very focused on your work. And, you know, if I intrude in that moment when you are busy, then only so much mental bandwidth you have for that. And the same with chess players. Bobby Fischer, it is true. He changed the image a little bit. It is not that most chess players are idiosyncratic; the problem is people remember the ones who are. And really that is what happened with Bobby Fischer.... Chess players generally are kind of university types. They like to sit and think. Now, thanks to computers, there is more of an IT gaming crowd coming in. So an interesting mix is happening.

Q/ So there are characters.

A/ There are characters. And if you have been in chess for a long time, you see them as individuals. And it stuns me every time there is a famous movie and everyone treats us as some collective noun again. So, you know, after The Queen’s Gambit, which by the way, was very successful, [I thought] well, I look up and I do think like that, like Beth Harmon (protagonist), but I don’t know that every chess player looks up and thinks like that. You know, we are not all manufactured in the same fab (laughs).

Read the full interview...

Master Class Vol. 12: Viswanathan Anand

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors how to successfully organise your games strategically, and how to keep your opponent permanently under pressure.


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.