Anand to represent India at Chess Olympiad

At a function organised to felicitate the 48-year old following his victory in the World Rapid Chess championships in Riyadh, AICF President P.R.Venketrama Raja said he was pleased Anand has accepted to be part of the Olympiad.

Viswanathan Anand being felicitated by the All India Chess federation and Tamil Nadu State Chess Association in Chennai on Friday.   -  K.V. Srinivasan

Six-time world champion, Viswanathan Anand on Friday confirmed he will represent India in the Chess Olympiad to be held in Georgia later this year, 12 years after his last participation in 2006.

At a function organised to felicitate the 48-year old following his victory in the World Rapid Chess championships in Riyadh, AICF President P.R.Venketrama Raja said he was pleased Anand has accepted to be part of the Olympiad. Anand who had earlier indicated he is likely to play the Olympiad said, “It will be a strong homogeneous team. I am looking forward to playing alongside the boys.”

Speaking at the function Anand said the Rapid Chess championship win was sweeter since he did not intend to play the tournament initially and made the call only a month before the event. “I have felt when things happen by themselves without lot of planning, it can often be more memorable. On the morning of the third day, I felt like there was an outside chance but never thought of winning it. I was looking forward to a podium finish maybe.”

Anand also added that the world title in Rapid Chess felt better because after having dominated the format for a long time, he was off his game in recent times and the title feels like ‘an old friend has come back.’

“This moment can be compared to Prague 2002 or the candidates tournament in 2014. Because they came when I was feeling down. Then in one tournament your whole perspective changes and you get back your confidence and joy. It means a lot because of when it happened as much as what happened.”

The felicitation event was organised by All India Chess Federation and Tamil Nadu State Chess Association at MOP Vaishnav College with AICF presenting Anand with a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh. FIDE vice-president, D.V. Sundar and other office-bearers of the AICF and India’s first International Master Manuel Aaron spoke at the event.