More than best moves, it’s about who makes last mistake: Anand

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand said chess requires you to constantly study the opponents’ game and gauge what’s going on in their minds.

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand says the 1987 World Junior Championship and the 2017 World Rapid Championship are two of the most important tournaments of his career.   -  K.V.S. Giri

"In chess, you don’t beat the board. It’s more important to beat the player on the other side. Everyone thinks you make the best moves, but it’s more about who makes the last mistake on the board," says five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand as he gives an insight into his chess and life, during a conversation with cricketer S. Badrinath in a show to be telecast on Star Sports 1 Tamil on May 24.

The show, that includes a rapid fire round, also features chess-player-turned-cricketer Yuzuvendra Chahal, Grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa and Anand’s wife Aruna. Anand is currently stuck in the German town of Bad Soden following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Talking about his chess, Anand says, "You need to constantly put yourself in the minds of the opponents and study their game along with your own. You cannot pump your fist and there’s no emotional release in a game like chess. After a game I always go to the gym not for fitness but to calm down and the stress goes away."

Reflecting on his early days in chess, Anand says, "My progress as a chess player wasn’t sudden, it came through lots of hard work over many years. The chess I learnt in the 80s, we no longer play chess like that. The introduction of computers has changed the approach, the way you study completely."

In spite of winning five classical world titles, Anand chose two other triumphs that brought him great satisfaction.

“Winning the first World Junior in 1987 was something I will never forget. The feeling of overcoming the Russians gave me great pride. The other was winning the 2017 World Rapid Chess Championship. It came at a time in my career when I was contemplating retirement, that win came just at the right time and gave me great satisfaction”.

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