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Friday, December 2, 2011

Guardian chess insight into what Anand thinks!

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

This Guardian interview with World Chess Championship Vishy Anand - on the sidelines of the London Chess Classic - has logged on quite a few thousands hits already. Could we resist sharing some excerpts? 

Series: Small Talk

Vishy Anand: I found Bobby Fischer surprisingly normal and calm
The world chess champion on analysing with the legendary American, being a new dad and his love of Monty Python

How does it feel to be back for the London Chess Classic? It's excellent. I enjoy this tournament immensely. It's a great showcase for chess in Britain and it has the worthy aim of building chess in schools too.

So when enthusiastic kids ask how they can become chess masters, what do you tell them? Just keep playing often. Concepts fall into place only when you get them on the board. It's a bit like learning a language; it's nice to read a book, but only when you speak to someone does it all start to fall into place.

When you are preparing for major tournaments like London how many hours a day do you devote to getting ready? As much as it takes – up to 10 hours if needed – plus another two or three hours during the tournament.
And how do you prepare physically? Mostly by running and doing weights. Mainly it's to relieve yourself of tension, and to sleep soundly.

Which opponent pushed those boundaries most? [Long pause] Well, I had very difficult matches with [Gata] Kamsky and Garry Kasparov in the 1990s. They were psychologically intense, probably because I was still inexperienced.

So what was it like facing a peak Kasparov glaring at you? Well, it's annoying – because first of all he makes good moves and on top of that there's all the other pressure he inflicts too. But what made Kasparov dangerous was his moves. If he was making faces and then played bad moves we would have just laughed at him. These days, I think you can over-estimate the psychological stuff.

The BBC are currently showing the documentary Bobby Fischer, Genius and Madman. You met Fischer in 2006, a couple of years before he died. What was he like? I found him surprisingly normal. Well, at least not very tense. He seemed to be relieved to be in the company of chess players. He was calm in that sense. He was also a bit worried about people following him, so the paranoia never really went away. But I am really happy I got the chance to meet him before he died in 2008. It was weird as well because I kept having to remind myself that this was Bobby Fischer sitting in front of me!

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