Viswanathan Anand: In chess, you don’t beat the board, you beat the player

Viswanathan Anand: In chess, you don’t beat the board, you beat the player

Pune: Five-time chess world champion and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee Viswanathan Anand has been held up in Germany since March. Anand had gone to Germany to play in the Bundesliga Chess event and was forced to stay put as he could not return before the travel restrictions came in.

He has been living near Frankfurt since then, eagerly awaiting a return back home, but has not failed to keep himself busy. Anand has participated in a couple of fundraising tournaments for COVID-19 relief, and even turned commentator for another tournament.

In a career that has already spanned over 35 years, Anand revealed that fine tuning his 'mind skills' has been key to his success and consistency over the years.

"In chess, you don’t beat the board. It’s more important to beat the player on the other side. Everyone thinks you make the best moves, but it’s more about who makes the last mistake on the board. You need to constantly put yourself in the minds of the opponents and study their game along with your own. You cannot pump your fist and there’s no emotional release in a game like chess," said Anand speaking on Star Sports' show Mind Masters by MFORE, adding that after a game he always goes to the gym, not for fitness but to calm down and relieve the stress.

Speaking to former Indian cricketer and the show's host S Badrinath, Anand opened up about how his journey as a chess player began and how the game has changed drastically over the years, mainly with the introduction of technology.

“I was six years old when my older brother and sister were playing chess, and then I went to my mom and asked her to teach me as well. My progress as a chess player wasn’t sudden, it came through lots of hard work over many years. The chess I learnt in the 80s, we no longer play chess like that. The introduction of computers has changed the approach, the way you study completely. Only the two players in front of the board has not changed," Anand further said.

The 50-year-old also spoke about two tournaments in specific that he won which were most important for his confidence, one at the start of his career and one in recent time.

“Winning the first World Junior in 1987 was a match I will never forget, the feeling of overcoming the Russians gave me great pride. And, winning the World Rapid Chess Championship in 2017, at a time in my career when I was contemplating retirement, that win came just at the right time and gave me great satisfaction," Anand further expressed.

In the show, Anand was also joined by chess prodigy and 14-year-old Grand Master R Praggnanandhaa, who considers Viswanathan Anand as his inspiration, while current Indian Cricketer and former chess player himself, Yuzvendra Chahal also spoke about his love for chess.

The show will be aired on Star Sports Tamil channel on Sunday, at 7 pm.

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