Anand told us that chess should be fun, says Ramesh
By S Rajesh
Published: 21st October 2013 11:59 AM
Last Updated: 21st October 2013 11:59 AM

He was one of the many youngsters inspired to take up the sport of 64 squares after the emergence of “Lightning Kid” Viswanathan Anand. Later when he became a Grandmaster, RB Ramesh and his wife Aarthie Ramasamy (WGM) became the first Grandmaster couple from India. After quitting the sport five years ago, Ramesh is now busy training kids who aspire to be the next “Anand”.

In the past, he has worked with players like Debashis Das, M Shyam Sundar, SP Sethuraman and B Adhiban who have all go on to become GM’s with Debashis achieving the feat recently on 18th October. Ramesh talks to TNIE about the world championship clash between Anand and Norway’s World No 1 Magnus Carlsen.

On the clash of playing styles between the two players

Anand prepares very well and likes to get into a familiar position on the board while and putting his opponent into unfamiliar territory where they would be at a loss. Anand is more traditional and tends to follow the main opening lines while Carlsen on the other hand is likely to play offbeat sidelines and look to neutralise Anand’s preparatory advantage.

On the strengths of Anand

He has got the experience of playing many matches against top class opponents like Anatoly Karpov, Vladimir Kramnik, Boris Gelfand and Veselin Topalov. Anand’s main strength is his preparation which has worked well against most opponents and his aggressive play as he has the ability to calculate the moves very well.

On the strengths of Carlsen

Carlsen seems to have the mentality that there is too much opening theory and it is impossible to master all of that. So he relishes the challenge of getting his adversary to play unknown positions where his originality would come to the fore. The World No 1 has great fighting spirit and stamina and even in losing positions, he never gives up and tries some trick or other to get back on an even keel. Another key strength is his endgame where Carlsen tries to force a victory breaking down his opponents after putting them under relentless pressure until they make a blunder or cave in through mental fatigue.

On the challenge presented by playing Carlsen as opposed to Kramnik and Gelfand

Against players of his generation like Kramnik / Gelfand, Anand could play the principled main line openings since they play similar in that regard but it won’t be possible against Carlsen who is unpredictable and may play different sidelines each time. Typically at the top level, GM’s tend to split the point when they reach a position of no-advantage but for Carlsen, that represents just the start and he would enjoy the prospect of a long battle.

His thoughts on who would prevail

Anand has not played very well in the last two years and slipped down the rating while Carlsen is on the way up (having broken Kasparov’s all-time high FIDE rating) and looks to be peaking at the right time. So Anand would look to bring forth new ideas in opening to get into complicated positions and put pressure on Carlsen hence gaining an advantage while Carlsen would look to stretch the game and take him to new positions. The role of the seconds would be very important as they have to prepare for many sidelines too. I believe the player who is able to bring forth his strategy onto the board will ultimately triumph.

On Anand being a role model for the kids

He is a very nice person and has a very good sense of humour. He is also very articulate in expressing his ideas. Anand is very encouraging and whenever Indians win a tournament, he used to call them up and congratulate them. That motivates the young players a lot.

On his interaction with Anand in the past

When we were kids, we were inspired by his feats. Anand spent a lot of time abroad but when he came to Chennai, he would host a dinner for the promising youngsters. Due to a paucity of good books and training at that time, it was “education time” for us to clarify our doubts and we drilled him with a number of questions–some idiotic ones as well but he patiently answered all of us. That helped us understand the thinking of a Grandmaster and improve our game. Initially we were all focused on results but Anand used to tell us, “Chess should be fun” and that we should enjoy ourselves. Later we found that to be very true.


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