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Rediff.com  » Sports » Vishy Anand: 'I have to think differently against Carlsen'

Vishy Anand: 'I have to think differently against Carlsen'

April 16, 2014 09:54 IST

'I have to think differently against Carlsen this time'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

'All the tournaments I played in recent times had a lot of bad moments, but the Candidates was a perfect tournament.'

'Everything about the World Championship was very depressing.'

Five-time World chess champion Viswanathan Anand speaks to Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier about his defeat to Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship last year and his recent Candidates triumph, which has earned him a rematch with the Norwegian.

Though Viswanathan Anand is a five-time World chess champion, many wrote him off after he lost to Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship last year.

Few gave him a chance in last month's Candidates Tournament, which decided the Challenger for the next World Championship match against Carlsen.

Anand proved all those who questioned his ability, who said age was catching up with him, that he was past his prime, wrong! He won the Candidates Championship in Russia and will challenge the Norwegian in the next World Championship.

After many years, the Indian -- World Champion from 2007 to 2013 -- will enter the tournament as a Challenger, and not champion.

Enjoying a break at his Chennai home, the maestro of the 64-squares arena spoke with Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier.

Was the result at the Candidates on expected lines?

I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I didn't have any expectations. I was ready to play without bothering about the results. I had decided not to think about what the results would be and simply play game to game, and see how it shaped up.

If the tournament is shaping up well, you can automatically scale up your expectations. Otherwise, accept how it comes. That was what was in my mind then.

Was it a relief once you became the Challenger?

Yes! Such a good result I have not had for some time.

All the tournaments I played in recent times had a lot of bad moments, but this one was a perfect tournament. I am very happy and relieved.

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Image: FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, left, with Candidates 2014 winner Viswanathan Anand and the governor of Russia's Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region Yugra Natalia Komarova.
Photographs: FIDE

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'I wanted to give myself time rather than taking a hasty decision'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

Did you have to think a lot before the Candidates, after what happened at the World Championship?

Not really. I tried not taking a decision when I was depressed, when the match was still fresh in my mind. I decided to take the decision later as things cooled down.

I read that you were in two minds about participating in the Candidates. What made you decide to participate?

I was not in two minds. I only didn't want to take a decision when I was unhappy. That was the main thing. It was never a question of being in two minds.

I just wanted to give myself some time and then think about it, rather than taking a hasty decision then.

Did you discuss about participating in the Candidates with your seconds, friends or with Aruna, or was it a decision taken all by yourself?

Not at all! I spoke about this with my friends. In fact, in London, (Vladimir) Kramnik tried very hard to convince me about participating. He told me, 'You should play'. Some other friends too talked me into participating.

In the end, of course, it has to be your own decision.

You are the one who knows the best. They were of the opinion that I should play. After some time, I felt better and decided to participate.

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Image: Viswanathan Anand takes a break as his opponent ponders his move.
Photographs: FIDE

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'Everything about the World Championship was very depressing'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

You may not like to dwell on the World Championship. Was it painful to lose like that?

Yes, definitely! Everything about the (World) championship was very depressing. I wanted to give myself some time to recover.

How did you come out of that feeling?

I don't think I did anything specific to come out of the feeling. I gave myself enough time by not thinking about it, spending time at home with my family, especially with my son.

That way I could forget about the loss. There was no point in dwelling on it over and over again.

It is said winning and losing are part of the game. Would you say losing a game is painful?

Definitely! All those who say winning and losing are part of the game are those who lose less!

Every sports person feels bad when he loses a game. But, then, you tell yourself that it is part of the game and move on.

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Image: Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen during the World Championship match in Chennai.
Photographs: Babu/Reuters
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'Retirement talk is quite annoying'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

People have been asking you about retiring even when you were the World Champion. Does it irritate you?

Yes, it does.

It certainly is quite annoying. One guy started it and everyone else started repeating it.

Many guys don't decide their own questions; they just research what others asked and try to follow them.

I told myself that when you are a public figure you can't control such things. So, it was like, to hell with it!

Of course, I don't like the question. It was a very important decision, and why would I discuss it with everyone?

You were the World Champion. Now you are going to be the Challenger. How do you look at the new role?

I need some time to get used to the new situation, but I feel quite good.

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Image: Viswanathan Anand ponders a move.
Photographs: Babu/Reuters
Tags: 1

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'I have to think differently'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

For the World Championship, you played against one player, and for the Candidates, you played against many. How different was the preparation?

The format doesn't make much difference, as I have played against many players in many tournaments back and forth.

In my life, I have played enough tournaments and enough matches that I don't think it is that important now.

You once told me that winning the World Championship was like climbing Everest. How was it to win and now be the Challenger?

I don't know. I didn't do any comparison. I had to play in the World Championship earlier; I tried and I succeeded.

On the other hand, this time, I had to qualify for the World Championship. That's all.

When will you start preparing for the World Championship?

Hopefully, by the end of this month we will know where and when the match will be. Then I will start preparing.

I know you will not discuss your strategy. Still, will your strategy against Carlsen be different this time?

Obviously, I have to think differently. I have some ideas which I want to do and I will do.

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Image: Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen during the World Championship match in Chennai.
Photographs: Babu/Reuters
Tags: Carlsen

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'Pressure is not something I can control'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

Will there be less pressure on you this time, as you are going to challenge? 

I don't know. To be honest, I don't care, actually!

The most important thing is to know what went wrong last time and try to deal with that.

Pressure is not something I can control. It is like my age.

Everybody has been asking me the age factor. I can't change my age factor. Pressure is like that.

Pressure will be there, and I will try to overcome and go ahead.

Do you think a match hosted in India put a lot of pressure on you?

No. I don't think the location was important. I think the problem was elsewhere.

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Image: Viswanathan Anand, World Champion five times.
Photographs: Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images
Tags: India

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'There is no point reliving a bad experience over and over again'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

Did you analyse the games, or try to forget the whole thing?

I basically try to forget the whole thing. I don't think it is very important to analyse it.

A little bit of the experience will help you learn a few lessons, but not the whole thing.

There is no point in reliving a bad experience over and over again.

Are you enjoying yourself right now?

I am enjoying myself here in Chennai. I am just sitting at home, meeting friends, playing with my son and spending time with family.

In April, I have no plans to do any work. I try to take some rest, and then go forward.


Image: Viswanathan Anand is arguably India's greatest sportsman.
Photographs: Babu/Reuters
Tags: Chennai

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