World champion Viswanathan Anand is confident of retaining his world title and preparing with earnest with his seconds at an undisclosed location.
Anand says he is not bothered by the media hype over Magnus Carlsen’s visit to Chennai as he does not follow ‘chess news’ while preparing for major events.
He does not read too much into the loss against Carlsen in the Tal Memorial tournament but believes that the Norwegian will not misuse the illness clause during the clash in November.
Excerpts from an interview via e-mail:
How are your preparations going on?
It’s difficult to assess, until you actually start playing the match. So now we are just trying to cover as much ground as we can.
Having won five World Championship titles, do you think you enjoy an edge over Carlsen?
Surely, the matches have taught me something. But each match for me is a new challenge. I close the chapter on the previous match and approach this as a new challenge.
How motivated are you to win this one as it is being played at your home venue?
I think I would be motivated to win if the match was played on the moon. Being in Chennai, your heart and head keep telling you to win.
How do you fancy your chances to win?
This is not the first time that I am playing a big event in India. Dreev, New Delhi and then World Cup were all big events that went well for me. I understand the pressure. In the end, only good moves will win the match so that’s the only thing I would want to think about since that’s what I can control.
Does it worry you that in recent tournaments you have not been up to your best?
Surely it does. But I have had worse results before previous matches. I would say except for Tal, I actually did play reasonably well. But now it’s only the 12 games and Magnus that matters.
Will the fact that Carlsen beat you at Tal Memorial have a bearing on the World Championship?
I have been there before ... in Chennai the score starts at 0-0.
Your views on Carlsen as a player?
He is a tenacious player. Lots of talent and extremely ambitious.
How confident are you about your seconds putting through the paces in order for you to retain the title?
My team is made up of excellent people and I hope I can justify their faith and hard work they put in me.
What is the secret behind your big match ability?
I try to just look at the game in hand. I don’t want to start analysing that now. At present, I am only thinking of Chennai 2013 and that’s what matters.
Which of the five titles that you have won was tough?
Every title comes after hard work, there is no easy title.
Your view on the illness clause, which many believe is unfair...
The contracts have been signed, I don’t want to dwell on it. I don’t doubt Carlsen’s integrity as a sportsperson and I am sure neither party will misuse it.