Viswanathan Anand thanks Vladimir Kramnik for urging him to play
Susan Ninan, TNN | Mar 30, 2014, 11.56 PM IST

CHENNAI: There was a quiet sense of accomplishment as Viswanathan Anand brokered peace with Peter Svidler in their Candidates final round encounter at Khanty Mansiysk, Russia on Sunday.

Not that the result would have altered the final standings as Anand had already earned a rematch with reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, but the Indian was keen to keep his slate clean. The draw left him 8.5 points, one point clear of second-placed Segey Karjakin.

“Last night (Saturday) was easily the one with least sleep, at least as far as pre-match days are concerned,” the Indian said following Sunday’s game.

“I woke up at 6 am. It was quite turbulent. One must decide what one is aiming and playing for. It’s easy to drift and a loss can always leave a bad taste in the mouth.” Anand has won many tournaments before, but this one meant a lot.

“I liked all my wins. My first-ever win against Aronian with white was impressive and I was also happy with the way I played against Topalov. The one that I agreed for a draw with Dmitry (Andreikin) though I felt I could have done slightly differently.”

There was a time last year when Anand was not sure whether he would be playing the Candidates. It was his long-time rival Kramnik who urged him to take part in the tournament.

“During the Chess Classic in London in January, Kramnik lost one of those bad games against Hikaru and we went for dinner so that he could feel better. But it turned the other way round. He was trying to cheer me up and was persuasive about me playing Candidates.”

With the venue of this year’s title match yet to be decided, the obvious poser to the challenger was his preferred location.

“Maybe it would eventually come down to where I ended up winning. Obviously, there’s little sense in playing in an idyllic setting and doing badly. Like what happened in Chennai for instance (where he lost to Carlsen without winning a game). The location doesn’t matter as long as I feel good about my game.”

On his apparent weight loss and fitness regime in a bid to play better, Anand said: “That’s what all the medical evidence says. It’s sensible to exercise, not just for matches, even otherwise.”

So is he tired of playing in world title matches? The indefatigable Anand paused before saying “no”, drawing laughter from the gathering.

Final standings: Anand 8.5 points, Sergey Karjakin 7.5 points, Vladimir Kramnik 7 points, Dmitry Andreikin 7, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 7, Peter Svidler 6.5 points, Levon Aronian 6.5 points, Veselin Topalov 6 points.


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