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Friday, October 24, 2014

Five-TIme World Chess Champion Philosophy: You're Your Only Competition, Says Anand

Hello chess blog friends, former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand is looking at another world chess title this November. Anand told the Economic Times, he feels confident and is prepared well to challenge World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen in Sochi from November 7.

World Champions two: Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand chats with 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk in Moscow, 2009. For great photos of the world's best chess players, check out

"I am in competition with myself. Now it is the last mile of preparation," he says. Last time, in an interview to the ET, Anand said mentioned "Coffee & Coldplay" as his addictions. When asked, what has changed since then, he replied "Coffee has gotten better this time. Even I make good coffee nowadays. Although the music mix has remained the same. Five Little Ducks seems to be a new hit now and Peppa Pig is a tension reliever!"

"I can say I am happy with my chess" he says, "at Khanty my play was very much like how I liked to play. I am happy that I have been able to play the chess I want. Of course chess theory has no constant. It has been fun that we have so many high level events to follow."

"Theory" means the myriad ways in which a particular opening can be played. Grandmasters are constantly on the lookout for refinements and improvements played in tournaments all over the world. Anand explains, "When you prepare for a match you are afraid that two club-level players could upset your whole theory".

Has his assessment of Magnus changed since last year? "That is a question after the match is over" he parries. When pressed on the point he takes the big picture, "There have been new developments in chess and certain players like Fabiano have been exceptional achievers this year. This surely influences chess and how we players assimilate".

Anand refuses to be drawn into his opponent's mindgames, "My opponent has to be asked that question" he says, on why there was so much drama around the venue. He emphasizes, "After winning the Candidates I was clear on who I was working against" making it clear that he always thought that Carlsen would sign in the end. Anand, who has a good fan following in Russia, does not share Carlsen's apprehensions about Sochi. "Aruna has inspected the venue and the arrangements seem fine".

Anand says, "You keep running looking at the goal in front of you. Kilometres done, slope climbed. You try to increase your heart rate. When you are on it you only hear your breathing and you realize the only competition is your mind and body. In a way that is how I look at my career. I enjoy working on chess. I am happy that I have a good life. A bit of everything... makes life complete".


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