Viswanathan Anand launches autobiography 'Mind Master'

Releasing his book ‘Mind Master’, Anand, in conversation with N. Ram, Chairman, THG Publishing Private Limited, provided some wonderful memories of his journey.

At the launch: Viswanathan Anand, left, with N. Ram, Chairman, THG Publishing Private Limited.   -  R. RAVINDRAN

It was an evening when everyone at the ballroom of Hotel Taj Coromandel came face to face with how intelligent, thoughtful and humorous Viswanathan Anand, the five-time world chess champion, is off the chess board.

Releasing his book ‘Mind Master’, co-authored by sports journalist Susan Ninan, the chess legend, in a conversation with N. Ram, Chairman, THG Publishing Private Limited, on Friday provided those present with some wonderful memories of his journey.

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The Putin quip

Reading from portions of the book, Ram said when Anand won his fourth successive World Championship crown in 2012 — he defeated Boris Gelfand of Israel in Moscow — the Russian President Vladimir Putin, after coming to know that Anand had learnt his early lessons at the Tal Chess Club in Madras, joked: “So it is a problem we have brought upon ourselves!”

Praising the book, Ram said it is destined to become a “sporting classic.” “It strikes a fine balance between being a book for keen chess readers, including top players and non-chess readers, and one that can be read with pleasure.”

Anand said he developed the habit of taking notes right from an early age after his mother Sushila insisted.

The champion revealed it had ingrained in him what Ljubomir Ljubojevic, a senior Grandmaster, told him at a dinner: “Vishy boy, ‘you should keep a diary. Then he said beautifully how streams have many interesting stories to tell at the beginning, but once they reach the ocean, they have nothing left to say.’”

On having Magnus Carlsen as a sparring partner when the Norwegian was a teenager, Anand said even then he observed how sharp he was.

“After training with him, I had more questions than answers,” said Anand.

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The Indian Grandmaster felt the gap between Russia and the other countries has considerably narrowed.

“If you see the top 10 players in the world, there is a lot of diversity,” he said.

On why there aren’t many strong women Grandmasters and World champions, Anand said there is no definitive answer, while adding that between the Elo rating of 2300 and 2600, there were women players, but at 2700 and upwards, there is a gap.

Like father like son

Anand said he saw himself in son Akhil who too loves mathematics and likes to solve puzzles.