Anand set to partner Kramnik, train India’s young Grandmasters

Out of the many players selected to be part of the program, the names of GMs Praggnanandhaa, D. Gukesh, Iniyan, Prithu, Sadhwani and IM Leon Mendonca, were also included.

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand felicitate GM Raunak Sadhwani, GM Iniyan and GM Prithu Gupta.   -  R RAGU

A felicitation ceremony organised to celebrate the rise of India’s youngest Grandmasters (GMs) – P. Iniyan, Prithu Gupta and Raunak Sadhwani – to fame by tech company Microsense at Chennai, saw things get a fresh boost when it was announced that chess maestro Viswanathan Anand would train them alongside other fresh talents.

Out of the many players selected to be part of the program, the names of GMs Praggnanandhaa, D. Gukesh, Iniyan, Prithu, Sadhwani and IM Leon Mendonca, were also included. These six youngsters had also taken part in a training camp conducted by former World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik in Geneva.

“The next session with Kramnik is on the cards as well,” said S. Kailasanathan, Managing Director, Microsense Group.

Anand on his upcoming Grand Chess Tour matches

I look forward to playing very well. I am playing 27 games for 36 points in Romania and then again 27 games for 36 points in Kolkata. And that is really a lot of chess and a lot of Blitz chess to be precise. 

I will just try to be in the best shape and play a good game. I don’t think you have too much time to sit and think of objectives and so on. These many games are like a storm. You just have to keep your presence of mind and try and do as well as possible. When you play nine games a day you cannot think of one as a special game and so on. So hopefully I want to be at it from the start.

As of next year, I will definitely play at Wijk aan Zee. Rest, I have not planned as of now.

Although the dates of the training program with Anand are yet to be finalised, Anand expressed his excitement, saying, “We have a lot of talent, but this sort of systematic coaching, getting to work with someone like (Vladimir) Kramnik, will make a huge difference and what I like is this is a very patient and long term approach and I would like to help his vision in bringing a lot of champions to India.”

He went on to praise the 13-year-old Sadhwani, who became India’s 65th GM in October, and had almost edged out Anand in the opening round of the Chess.com Isle of Man International at Douglas last year.

“I must say it was a longish game and to be very honest, in the first two or three hours I was hoping for a draw at least,” said Anand in good humour.

Kramnik, who was unable to attend the event, sent a video message, where he said, “In a few years, India will become a dominant chess power and one of the main reasons for that is Anand, who started the chess boom in India and I myself had the privilege of sharing the stage with him and getting beaten up too a few times.”

Read | I was tired playing back to back, says Praggnanandhaa

He went on to congratulate the players saying,” I am watching all of you! It is all very good that you have achieved what many cannot at this stage. You are all young and talented but let me tell you a little secret of mine: The more you achieve, the harder you have to work.”

The chess prodigies, who have grown up watching Anand’s match videos and idolising him, said they were looking forward to the program as well. Speaking to Sportstar, India’s 64th GM Prithu Gupta said: “It is a very good initiative and all of that getting combined with Kramnic sir’s camps it is a great thing.”

Iniyan echoed the same view. He said, “Yes, it is in talks and once the dates are finalised, it will be a good move.”