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Anand on why chess players' careers are getting shortened

Source: ANI   -  Edited By: Harish Kotian
June 01, 2021 14:47 IST
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Viswanathan Anand

IMAGE: Indian chess legend Viswanathan Anand said physical fitness is a key factor in chess in recent years, thereby putting more pressure on the players. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand said the career spans of chess players are getting shortened because of the intense competition within the sport.


The Indian chess legend also pointed out that physical fitness is a key factor in chess in recent years, thereby putting more pressure on the players.

"The physicality of your life is coming into the sport. In the 70s, chess players thought nothing about going out for a drink every night. But now, fitness, fitness, and fitness. The level of physical tension and physical level is much higher now. This hard work is very energy-intense and therefore, career spans are shortening. This is unquestionable," Anand told India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on the his YouTube show DRS with Ash.

"Chess players are fairly intelligent. You can see these players, even if they quit chess and go and do something else also, they do it quite well and you can see there is a tendency they will go to university or they will go to some finance or they will go into research, you can see the parallels between chess and the new thing," he added.

Further talking about chess, Anand said: "At the same time, it is a specialised intelligence. Chess players are really good at playing the sport."

The 51-year-old also stated that chess didn't look like a career option back in the 1970s and 80s, but that point of view has gradually started to change.

"In the 70s and 80s, probably like many sports, chess was just starting to become like a career. The main reason was Bobby Fischer. You could join a PSU and maybe find a niche or a public sector bank so that you get some support in that sense. You have a stable job and you could play chess. But it was quite limited and the second thing is, of course, computerisation, telecommunications all that also changed chess," said Anand.

Anand is a five-time World chess champion. He also went on to become the undisputed World champion in 2007, before he successfully defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010, and Boris Gelfand in 2012.

In 2013, he lost the World title to challenger Magnus Carlsen, and he lost the rematch to Carlsen in 2014 after winning the 2014 Candidates Tournament.

Anand was the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991-92. In 2007, he was then awarded India's second-highest civilian award -- the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award.

"I am sure there's a generation in cricket that still looks down on ODIs and says it's not the real thing. Equally, there's a generation now in chess which just doesn't understand, even that there was once a question."

"So, the generation after that is quite hard to compete with. I hae had one or two glorious moments like the World Rapid Championship in 2017 which I won. When I won that nobody could expect it and least of all, I didn't expect it," he added.

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Source: ANI  -  Edited By: Harish Kotian