World Chess Champion Vishy Anand on 'Being Home'
On the 64 squares, he’s the master, but at home, he can’t help but marvel at the mastery of his son Akhil Anand on his life. World chess champion Viswanathan Anand’s two-year-old son is his biggest stress buster.
A man of few words, but tall deeds, the wizard is quite a contrast when he’s at home. From turning a complete child around his son to enjoying football and tennis, there is more to Anand, the chess champion.
Ask him about his stress buster and he says, “Akhil my son — There is nothing more relaxing than reading his favourite book to him or playing a pillow fight with him.”
Playing a sport, which is a mind game rather than a physical sport, one may assume that fitness is not high on Anand’s agenda. But on the contrary, he’s a man who loves his workouts and treks.
“I go to the gym daily and alternate between cardio and weights. I usually like to run in a park or on a mountainous terrain while in Europe,” revealed the 43-year-old.
The matches in a sport like chess are mentally exhausting and Anand says he looks forward to sleeping and catching up on the little things in life.
“Well, at tournaments the only luxury is sleep, but Aruna sends me a photo of Akhil or a little story about him each day. He is now in a ‘moo-moo bow-bow’ phase and he chases cows and calls them out. So it’s entertaining to watch him trying to talk to cows. He gets angry when they ignore him,” said the maestro from Chennai.
On the joy and apprehensions of being a first-time father, Anand said, “As a father, you start looking at the world differently. Mainly, you keep watching out for him always. I am usually thinking — Is that a sharp edge, can he manage, is he hitting his head? At the same time, when I win a game, it feels nice to see Akhil on Skype clapping. He has no idea why everyone is happy but he will clap.”
Ask him if he wants his son to following in his footsteps, and he says, “He is a curious and observant kid so I would be very happy if he chooses a career that he finds fascinating. It will be fun learning along with him.”
Back to the world of sport, Anand enjoys varied sports, and having lived in Spain for a long time, he loves catching up on La Liga too.
“I enjoy watching tennis since I played a bit in my childhood and of course football. I like Real Madrid but can’t help watching Messi play for Barcelona,” he adds.
Back from Spain and living around family again in Chennai, Anand is enjoying the Indian summer, that’s of course when he’s not globe-trotting.
“It’s been very enjoyable to be back in India. We have always visited India often, so we never lost touch with the country. But being among family and friends is very nice. Moreover it just seems very natural to be here,” was Anand’s parting shot. (Deccan Chronicle/Manua Veerappa)
The Check mateA sporting event on his wish listA Barcelona-Real Madrid match.On a wife who unconditionally backs himIt has been excellent having Aruna take care of almost everything. She grew into the role very easily. She has been a constant source of support whenever I need it, even at midnight, she will wait for me to finish my game and wait to speak to me.
A wife’s take
I would say the most endearing quality of Anand is his wit and humility. — Aruna Anand
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