Five-time National Champion Surya Sekhar Ganguly may have lagged behind fellow Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran, Pentala Harikrishna and Koneru Humpy in rankings, his CV includes a unique distinction that he can mention with pride. The 24-year-old from Kolkata was picked by Viswanathan Anand as part of his four-member team that included a former World Champion in Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan.
Now that Anand has defeated Vladimir Kramnik and retained the title, Ganguly says his association with Anand will motivate him to do well on an individual front.
"It is the biggest achievement of my career that Anand picked me. He might have seen something in me that he gave me this chance. It is a big honour to suggest a move to Anand. You know that the World Championship is on line and any mistake you make will have huge ramifications. I am happy to have played my role in this victory along with the other seconds," Ganguly said.
It was a difficult period for Ganguly as he was the only 'non-d4 player' in the group. "I have never played d4 in my life and all the other players have always played that. So I had to be extra cautious to find out the various possibilities in that opening and check and recheck them," said Ganguly, who had to work the whole night along with the other seconds to prepare so that Anand would not be surprised by any new move by Kramnik in that line.
Ganguly, who refused to talk about his specific role as a second saying only Anand can talk on that, said working with Anand, Danish GM Peter Heine Nielsen, Poland's Radoslav Wojtaszek and Uzbekistan's Rustam Kasimdzhanov was a big motivation for him.
So how sure was Ganguly of Anand's victory? So sure that he went ahead and booked tickets for Friday for Spain to play in the league there. "No, it was nothing like that," said the Kolkatan with a smile.