Anand Vishy

Pawn Sacrifice is a film set in the 1960s when chess was being dominated by the likes of Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. Did watching the film make you wonder what it would have been to be a player then?

This movie represents the atmosphere of the 60s and I could very easily visualise the world of chess I grew up in. The film kind of shows how we used to play chess back then… especially the way we used to analyse and interact about the game in general. It was nice to be transported to that time for a few minutes.

In the film, we’re shown the players getting distracted by several factors — both small and big — before playing a game. What about you?

Yes, I know the feeling. When you’re tense before a big match, even small things tend to offend you. You just want to be left alone. But of course, most of us can mask it better than Bobby Fishcer.

Was Bobby Fischer someone you grew up admiring?

Bobby Fischer and Mikhail Tal were certainly my heroes. That’s not to say I thought of Fischer as an example. He was more an artist… someone who played a the beautiful game. I was only three when this iconic match between Spassky and Fischer happened. The games I got to see live were those between Karpov vs Kochnoy, Karpov vs Kasparov, etc. But I’ve always been an admirer of Fischer.

Do you watch a lot of films?

Yes, I do watch a reasonable number of films… in all languages.

Have you ever thought about the possibility of a film being made about you?

Yes, I have thought about the possibility actually. It’s not something I see happening immediately. But who knows?

Is there any actor you would want to play your role?

( Laughs ) Aamir Khan… He plays a lot of chess. I even played a game with him recently to promote the Maharashtra Chess League. But I honestly don’t think about it a lot… If it happens, it happens.

Do you watch a lot of Tamil films?

I do. I just watched Papanasam and I loved it… it was a very good movie. All the other films I watched recently were English, like Interstellar , The Imitation Game … I watched The Imitation Game because of the chess connection. One of the people in the film, CHOD Alexander, played chess. In fact, I have a book of his about world chess champions.

Do you have a favourite actor?

Mmmm… Kamal. I’ve sort of grown up watching his films.

Pawn Sacrifice hints at the crazy streak of a player like Fischer, and says it’s in part due to the complex nature of chess. Is there some truth to that?

Huh, that is completely false. You must watch this film as something that presents a great game between Fischer and Spassky to the world. It’s not representative of all chess players or all matches. It’s a match played at the height of the cold war between a Russian and an American.

Any scene from the film that you could particularly relate to?

There are two scenes in the film showing Bobby Fischer as a kid. The scene where he tells an opponent to speed up, shouting ‘Come on, make a move!’ is something I related to. I remember shouting the same.

There’s also another scene where he wants a rematch right after he’s lost. I’ve done that many times too… anyone who loves the game would.


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