“Forty is the old age of youth,” said author Victor Hugo. Times have changed thereafter to ‘life begins at 40’ being a popular mantra. One day before completing four decades, Viswanathan Anand showed he belonged to neither extreme.
“It is interesting that some of my best performances have come in the last 3-4 years, especially from 2007. The fact that I am able to play at my best proves that I still have a few more years left in me,” Anand, chess’ reigning world champion, told HT from Chennai on Thursday.
Anand isn’t looking back in wonder but said he does remember a few disappointments. "You learn a lot of things over the years — I won’t call them regrets. I am happy that I got a chance to play in the World Championship in 2007 in Mexico and then defended the title in Bonn (against Vladimir Kramnik). But there are also many world championships that I missed that I am disappointed," he said.
Anand will again be defending his world title, this time against Bulgarian Veselin Topalov at Sofia, Bulgaria, next April. "I am waiting for some more details and will start my preparation after that. I have already done some work but the real preparation will start once the exact dates are announced. Before that I will be playing in Corus Chess Festival (from Jan 15-31, 2010) at Wijk Aan Zee (the Netherlands)."
In his career spanning nearly 25 years, Anand is the only one to win all three formats — knockout, tournament and match play. Anand said India has come a long way from his early days and is doing very well on the international stage. “What we have to do is to take the game to as many people as possible.”