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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nights Full of Chess: Vishy Anand at 17 in 1986

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

We found this interesting 'chess story' about World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand for Indian magazine Outlook. This is what the Indian Grandmaster writes about being 17!

"Seventeen, as I remember it, was a year of change in more ways than one. My father had just retired and we moved into our own house in Chennai’s Besant Nagar. In those days, Besant Nagar was a lonely suburb. I vividly remember my evenings, spent by the sea at Elliot’s Beach, and solitary nights on my balcony where I would reflect quietly on my chess.
"It was also the year I joined Loyola College’s department of commerce. I was a student of evening college, so I had the luxury of sleeping well into the morning after a night full of chess, often accompanied by music on my player. I was a big fan of ’80s pop music—Pet Shop Boys, Cranberries—and I was constantly wired to my Walkman. It also helped that my professors were extremely proud and supportive of my chess and the career I was making out of it. I still remember how one lecturer, finding I was attending classes regularly, asked me, “Why are you here? Why don’t you go home and practice your chess?”

"Back then, I used to ride a TVS 50 around the city. Some days, I would take a bus to college. I remember this one time when I got into a bus and, as always, was tuned in to my music when I suddenly noticed that women who walked in and out of the bus were giving me dirty looks. Ten minutes had elapsed before I figured that I was on what is called a ‘Ladies Special’ bus. At the next stop, I was out of that bus and walked to college with an embarrassed smile on my face.

"In college, I didn’t have a big set of friends. Honestly, I don’t even remember the names or faces of the people I went to college with. But that is because, more than ever before, chess started occupying my mind-space. Seventeen was also when I was trying for my Grandmaster norm, even though it was only when I turned 18 that my game had a breakthrough of sorts—it was then that I won the World Junior Championship. (
As told to Akhila Krishnamurty)

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