So the rise and rise of Grand Master (GM) Viswanathan Anand continues. In a sense, chess players are like wine, maturing with age, and their peak performance comes in the late 30s. The most happening player in world chess today — inarguably the brightest non-Russian talent after Bobby Fischer— proved this in Bonn, using sharp challenges with white to outplay Vladimir Kramnik’s conservative approach in the last game and retain his world championship title.
In the flat universe of 64 squares where snails are considered agile, Anand’s fast-paced game stumps the best of cerebral gladiators. Even in complicated positions, he rarely uses all of his allotted time. No wonder he’s acknowledged as the world’s best player in the rapid format. And, of course, every other format, as the three world titles under his belt announce.
Anand has inspired legions of young players to take up chess and excel. The fact that the number of Indian GMs rose from three to 15 in less then a decade bears this out. But, alas, many youngsters are denied opportunity because of financial constraints and lack of exposure. The Indian Chess Federation should organise more tournaments and attract corporate sponsorship for the game. Only then can India realise its potential to become the world’s chess superpower.