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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Viswanathan Anand's Interview with MiD Day after retaining World Title

Viswanathan Anand talks to MiD DAY about the toughest match of his life, the challenges leading up to the championship and how he celebrated

Viswanathan Anand won his first World Chess Championship title when it was jointly held in his home country and Iran in 2000 in a knock-out format. Then in Mexico, 2007 in a tournament format before retaining his crown in Bonn, Germany in 2008. Yesterday, he won another world championship in his opponent, Veselin Topalov's home country, Bulgaria.

Doubtless, India's pride and joy has made some historic and geographical moves apart from his movements on the chess board.

Anand spoke to MiD-DAY about the magnitude of his challenge as well as on and off board happenings in Sofia.

Excerpts from a chat:

Would you say 'mission accomplished'?
It's mission accomplished. I am so exhausted that I am ready to crash out! It has been the toughest match of my life. Here was a situation where till the last day, there was no clarity ¦ both of us had a chance. As the winner would be the champion, the tension was too much in the last game. Moreover, most players and friends were not happy with our decision to play in Topalov's home country. The match kept bouncing from us to him and somehow it was always hectic.
Is it yet to sink in?
The feeling is yet to sink in and I think it is going to be couple of days before I come back to reality. But when I wake up tomorrow, there might be a sense of loss since we were cooped up in this hotel and it was almost like the 'Big Brother' House. The team lived here, ate here, prepared here and slept here. Somehow, we will miss all of them.
How did you prepare for the final game?
I was mentally prepared to go into the tie-break and fight it out there. In all probability I had expected to get the draw. There was no point in pondering about what could happen. Just worked hard yesterday which was a rest day. The entire team was in good spirits and highly motivated.
Was it tougher than the battle against Vladimir Kramnik?
I think this was tougher in the sense there was trouble from the word go, long journey by road for 40 hours, then fight on a different level for postponement of the Match. In this modern age, you don't think that a volcano is going to disrupt your best-laid plans. Thankfully, I was distanced from all this as Aruna took care of all these details. In hindsight, the benefit of this journey was that the team jelled together. Also, there was another tough element ” Topalov never gave up and continued to fight till the very end. There were no short-cuts here.
You suffered a shocking loss in the first game...
It was so fast and quick that it took a long time for realisation to sink in. But there is no point in brooding over it with the whole match ahead of you. You have to stop thinking about it and keep going forward. Thankfully I was able to get my rhythm back the next day.
Then you won the second and fourth game ¦
It was nice to strike back immediately after the loss on first day. Incidentally, the preparation for Game Four was done on the bus journey from Frankurt to Sofia. So the travelling time was well spent.
Things kept bouncing...
The match did keep bouncing. Actually switching Openings with Black which on hindsight looks like a good trick as it did not allow Topalov to really settle down and kept him guessing.
How did you celebrate?
The entire team went for a celebratory dinner to an Indian restaurant.

Source : MiD Day

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