India’s greatest chess player would have made a lousy chef
Meryl D’souza
22 September 2015

Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand gets candid about success, wine and who he’d like to challenge to a round of chessboxing

What you do know about Viswanathan Anand. The five-time world chess champion started on his superlative career path at the age of six, when his mother set him down in front of his first chess board. What you don’t know about Viswanathan Anand. The 45-year-old icon prefers white wines because he can’t appreciate reds, he’s a sucker for safari holidays and he’d like Aamir Khan to play him in the (inevitable) biopic.

More from our chat with the Indian Grandmaster at the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour preview in Mumbai :

What’s the biggest misconception people have about chess players?

That chess players are overly serious and nerdy. They stereotype us not realizing that chess players are too diverse for such a classification.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

That nothing is really permanent. Whether it’s success or failure, just take it in your stride and move on.

You’re an icon for many young Indians. But who inspires the fan boy in you?

In chess, Bobby Fischer and Michael Tao were my idols. But if I was to go outside chess, I remember being fascinated by (tennis legend) John McEnroe as a child.

Who makes a tougher opponent: computers or humans?

Humans, because they’re more devious. There are more emotions involved. It’s just way more fun.

Would you ever go for a round of chess boxing against your current rivals?

I’m not taking any names but if I had to go for a round of chessboxing, I’d choose someone fatter than me. The idea of going head to head against my current rivals…

Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik or Magnus Carlsen?

…doesn’t appeal to me at all. I’d have to train for a while before I can even give it some thought.

The one job you wouldn’t be caught dead doing?

I’d say cooking. I love to cook, but I don’t think I’d ever want to do it as a job.


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