Chess or business, errors need to be fixed quickly: Anand
Bangalore, July 30, 2012
Sports Reporter

Chess champ backs move to make chess a compulsory part of the curriculum

Two months may have passed since chess wizard Viswanathan Anand defeated Israel’s Boris Gelfand in Moscow to win his fifth World Championship title, but the champion still faces questions about that dramatic battle. And, for a man who has spent a lifetime preparing for an unexpected opening or a rogue sacrifice on the chess board, handling routine queries from a group of presspersons is a piece of cake.

Taking criticism

Speaking about chess legend Garry Kasparov’s unsavoury remarks in the middle of the title match on his ability, Anand said, “It was the manner in which Kasparov criticised me that was not right. I am open to criticism, but his remarks seemed part of an agenda.”

“The Russian public though were good to me,” he added. “Gelfand has deep roots in Russia, so I think they were more pro-Gelfand than anti-me.”

On handling pressure, the champ talked of a “pattern”, where the stress “builds up slowly” in the months leading up to the match, and “peaks” when close to the opening move.

Anand was in the city on Sunday to present awards and play simultaneous chess against the top players in the national corporate chess championship organised by NIIT.

Right moves

Moving from Gelfand to corporate life, the grandmaster pointed out the similarities he sees between chess and business. “Companies often do not realise the errors that creep in when performances and figures are good. Errors need early fixing, before they go haywire,” he said.

He offered an insight on how glitches left unattended caused him trouble in 2001, when a surprise bad result came shortly after he became the world champion for the first time with a thumping of Spain’s Alexey Shirov. “After analysis, I realised I had a problem in my game which had remained active for months because I paid it no attention,” he said.

Chess in school

As in Moscow, Anand’s home State Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat have made chess a compulsory part of the school curriculum. With Karnataka likely to follow suit, what does the flag-bearer of Indian chess feel about the move?

“I hope Karnataka joins in. Studies have shown that children who play chess are better at solving problems. Two hours a week is all it takes to see results,” Anand said.

With a methodical break down of the query, it was as if he was challenging reporters to try harder.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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