CHENNAI:The six-time world champion Vishwanathan Anand’s hands do all the talking. He is known to be shy and that’s what he was with us too, not talking up much. But ask him about chess and he shares a lot of information. The Padma Vibhushan awardee was in Coimbatore recently and CE had a chat with him. Excerpts follow...
In a career spanning over two decades, what was the most challenging phase?
Winning the world championship in 2007 was very challenging. I trained differently for it. My play there was very good, especially with the black. That victory propelled me to perform well in three world championship matches. That was professionally the most challenging and satisfying phase!
One fond childhood memory?
Playing blitz at the Tal Chess Club.
You have faced so many opponents. Who do you hang out with more?
Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand.
What do you do after a tough tourney?
I try to spend time with my family. My wife Aruna is my manager and emotional confidant so that helps when you are trying to let go of the negative energy. Now I look forward to seeing my son Akhil after a long trip.
Best career moments…
Winning the 2010 world title and the 2014 Candidates tournament.
If you could replay one game, which one would it be?
The 1998 tie-break against Anatoly Karpov in Lausanne.
Have you ever taken part in a swimming competition?
Swimming is my hobby and I hate to compete outside of chess.
Which young Indian player do you adore?
There’s certainly more than one…Baskaran Adhiban, Harika Dronavalli, Pentala Harikrishna. Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, Aravindh Chithambaram, and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi to name a few.
One improvisation you would love to do in your game?
I improvise 24×7
Is Anand junior in the making?
I don’t believe in forcing anybody. He is a different person and should take his own decisions.
Your words of wisdom to an aspirant...
Enjoy the game!