Surya Shekhar Ganguly in conversation with Vishy Anand

by Shahid Ahmed
7/16/2020 – Due to Covid-19 most of us are confined inside our home. Some people are creating content, while some are watching that content. So the question arises: what to choose and what to skip? Six-time consecutive National Champion GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly started his own series, and his first guest was none other than the one and only Vishy Anand. Ganguly is a former second of Anand, who helped him in numerous World Championships. But where did their journey begin? Four episodes, packed with stories and never-before-seen questions, make up the incredible series with the ‘Tiger of Madras’. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Good old friends

On June 20, six-time consecutive National Champion, Arjuna Awardee GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly hosted seven-time World Champion Vishy Anand on his newly launched YouTube channel. Surya talks about a lot of things which have never been asked to Anand.

In his debut episode, among other things, Surya mentions that his first-ever interaction with Anand was back in 2005 when he played a simultaneous exhibition match at the Alekhine Chess Club in Kolkata against 40 players. He talks about the interaction. It was after he observed a game with back-then young and talented Deep Sengupta, who is a strong Grandmaster now.

 

“Anand did not take Bxh7 and I was very curious why he didn’t play this move”, Surya said to his live audience from his home in Kolkata. After the simultaneous exhibition was over, Surya went to Anand to pick his brain and find out an answer to his query. Despite Anand getting mobbed by the fans and lovers of the game, he explained everything blindfolded (without having a physical or virtual chessboard in front of them). To know what Anand answered in the show, you can watch it here.

 

In conversation with Anand - Episode 1


Untold stories of the World Championship 2012

Surya confesses, “Against Gelfand, I don't think we had any preparation at all against 1.e4”. He also adds further, “We just assumed that Gelfand would never play 1.e4”.

 

Yes, the above diagram was part of a World Championship preparation! Surya describes the position as one of the best openings from an aesthetical point of view he has ever seen. To find out how it all happened, you can check it here.

 

Anand discussed many details about other World Championship matches, both about the chess side of things and the environment surrounding each particular situation. The ‘Tiger of Madras’ explains why he prefers not to pay too much attention to the controversies surrounding sportive events, putting all his focus on being his best self while doing his job — to play chess.  

Plenty of elite players joined the live chat during the second episode, including Giri, Sethuraman, Harika, Vishnu, Padmini and Soumya.


In conversation with Anand - Episode 2


Aruna joins her husband

Anyone who has followed Anand’s successful career has heard of his wife Aruna, who has been an integral part of his development since their marriage in 1996. Aruna joined the conversation in episode 3, answering rapid-fire questions and talking about their 9-year-old son Akhil, among many other things. After having accompanied her husband for so many years, Aruna knows a lot about the chess world!

Throughout the interviews, it is noticeable that Surya and Anand have a very nice, friendly relationship. We must also note that Surya does a great job as a host, showing ‘deep preparation’ with many interesting questions ready at every turn and a relaxed demeanour that really helps the conversation to continue flowing naturally.


In conversation with Anand - Episode 3


The fourth and last episode sees Anand answering questions from the audience.

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Additional reporting by Carlos Colodro

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Shahid Ahmed is the senior coordinator and editor of ChessBase India. He enjoys covering chess tournaments and also likes to play in chess events from time to time.

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