The year was 1989. The city is Wijk aan Zee. This was when my sisters and I first met the young Vishy Anand. We were both around 19 years old then. At that time, what stood out was the speed of his play. He often used less than one hour on his clock to beat his opponents, who used by far more time.

During the tournament, we became good friends. My sisters and I invited him to visit us in Budapest, Hungary. To our pleasant surprise, he accepted our invitation and arrived shortly after the tournament, and stayed for about a week with our family.

Even at a young age, Anand was fully focused on chess. We could clearly see his enormous talent and a bright future. He was always eager to play blitz or analyze at any time. We played tons of blitz games, joked around, and had a lot of fun. He has a great sense of humor.

When we did not analyze or play blitz, he would listen to music or meditate. Obviously, 5 world championship titles later, this 19 year old we met back then has become one of the greatest champions. We continued to cross paths at various events over the years. Anand never lost that sense of humor.

However, I did not see this Anand in Chennai last year during the match against Carlsen. He seemed to be very tense. I guess it was because of the extra pressure and tension playing in his home town. After the devastating loss to Carlsen, many “experts” wrote him off. They said he lost his drive, motivation, and killer instinct on the board.

You can read the rest of my piece in India Today Magazine, with readership of about 2 million, in an upcoming issue.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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