How do you find the Tal Memorial
Viswanathan Anand: Generally, the composition of the tournament is impressive. Incredibly strong composition. I am sure this tournament will be remembered in the chess history, I have not seen so many strong grandmasters gathered in one place. I am expecting a difficult struggle literarly in every game. I believe this is the strongest tournament of the year.
The Russian chess school, how to explain the recent failures?
Viswanathan Anand: No, I think that Russia is still one of the strongest chess powers on the planet, I am certain of this. It is just that now learning chess has become easier for people from around the world and therefore it is easier to compete against Russians. But I think that at the last European Team Championship Russians were simply unlucky – they couldn’t win the last win and took only silver medal. I am sure that your country is still one of the best, although now there is no domination of Russian players.
About world championship cycle?
Viswanathan Anand: Well, actually I played with various systems, in matches and tournaments, and it is not easy to form an opinion. Probably it is better to have matches, although, perhaps, there is no fundamental difference. I think that it is very important that the chess world is finally united and that there is only one world champion. It is very important because earlier we didn’t have single answer to the question – who is world chess champion. This was great obstacle for the promotion of the sport and for finding sponsors, and it even hampered organization of tournaments and other events. So the most important thing is that chess world is united.
On the inclusion of chess into the Olympic family?
Viswanathan Anand: Yes, that would be great, if possible, of course. Because in many countries an Olympic sport receives much more in funding. But in many places chess is not considered to be sport, and this is another obstacle before we are ready for the Olympic appearance.
Frankly, I don’t know which stage was reached in the talks with the International Olympic Committee. I think it would be great if chess could join the Olympic family.
Your future plans
Viswanathan Anand: After Tal Memorial I will play in the blitz tournament, then go to India. And then I don’t know, I’ll go on vacation. But in any case, going home to native people is always a pleasure, already that is a holiday for me.
Author – Elmira Mirzoeva. Full interview (Russian language)