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Friday, May 30, 2014

Rapid Chess not Harmful, but Spectator Friendly: Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand

Hello chessblog friends, former world chess champion Viswanathan Anand has said in the Indian city of Pune, while speaking to Times of India. He said, "In chess, rapid and blitz are default tiebreak options and you can never neglect them completely. 

Anand said: "Though the slower format is played in competitions, almost all the players there come through playing a lot of blitz (5 minutes per player) and rapid (25/30 mins per player). It's good for training. It is good to play more games in a day than one game a day which requires high concentration. I don't think rapid is harmful. It's more spectator friendly."
Anand will play the World rapid and blitz championships in Dubai from June 15 to 21.

Anand also said the club/league/franchise culture needed to be given time to get established in India and that one can't compare club loyalties and more systematic approach with Europe.

The 44-year-old refused to talk much on his World title rematch against reigning champion Magnus Carlsen not receiving a bid.

On Carlsen's mind-boggling plus-23 score (difference between wins and defeats) in classical chess since January 2013, he said: "Very impressive ... nothing much to say about that. It was impressive last year and it keeps going up. I have to find some way to match when playing against him. Going by Khanty (Candidates success), I feel optimistic and positive."

On whether older players tend to focus on 'not losing' instead of winning, Anand said: "I have no idea. I just feel that I had a difficult phase. For no particular reason, I did well in Candidates ... and now I feel optimistic again."

Anand gave glimpses of his endearing personality when he obliged the kids with a Q&A session with all seriousness.

He also managed to squeeze in a tiny 'workshop' for chess parents. He told them to "relax a bit", saying five-six hours of practice in a day in most cases was not necessary.

"Results should not stop them (children) from enjoying," he said reminding a refined quote from his father, who had said "we backed Anand because he loved the sport."

On dealing with increasing coaching expenses for the sport, Anand said: "If parents feel that coaching is valuable, then it can kind of get into an arms' race. When parents feel it could be useful even without any evidence to base it on, then it's peer pressure.

"No parent wants to handicap their kid. But I believe coaching is best in moderation. The best way of learning is still practising a lot. Without diminishing the coaches, coaching works when you have many examples to show.

"Youngsters are taking the game far too seriously and at far too early an age. They are getting too competitive ... that's the age to have fun. I would advice parents not to be too obsessive about coaching."

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