Viswanathan Anand: Indian chess experiencing ‘snowball effect’

Technology has played a key role in enabling the proliferation of Grandmasters in India, says Anand.

Viswanathan Anand releases his autobiography ‘Mind Master’ in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  PTI

The proliferation of chess Grandmasters in India has a pattern resembling a “snowball effect,” Viswanathan Anand has said.

“It happens in a pattern, resembling a snowball effect,” Anand, India’s first GM, said on the sidelines of a discussion on the sport as brand ambassador of Fincare Small Finance Bank.

India has 64 GMs, the youngest, at 12 years, seven months, being D. Gukesh. Anand said: “After 63 players became GMs, I was waiting for No. 64, since it would have made a nice chess set (equalling 64 squares on a chess board). Within weeks of thinking about it, India got her 64th Grandmaster.”

‘Technology driven’

Crediting technology for youngsters to get to that elite level, Anand said: “Chess is technology driven. Grandmasters are getting younger due to access to a chess coach for current players, on their computers and on mobiles.”

Access to chess games and expert advise on the internet is a common feature.

Anand said he has made a passing reference to Indian Grandmasters in his autobiography titled ‘Mind Master - Winning Lessons From A Champion’s Life’.

Answering a query about 12-year-olds — Gukesh broke the record in 2019 of R. Praggnanandhaa who earned the coveted rank at 12 years, 10 months last year — achieving a tough task, he pointed to the depth in Indian chess. “Nihal Sarin, Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh are promising. I hate to take these three names because we have 17-year-olds as talented,” he said.


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