The sweet taste of undisputed victory must forever tingle on Viswanathan Anand's palate, who recently won his fifth World Chess Championship held in Moscow. Born in 1969, he started to play chess at six and went on to become the world number one at 37. His spate of winning the world chamionships started in 2007, and has been continuing till date.
The first Indian sports- person to receive the Padma Vibhushan, Anand was in Chandigarh on Tuesday to share business lessons and strategies in chess with the region's industrialists, where he talked about starting young and going strong.
Crediting his mother Susheela, a chess aficionado, for introducing him to the game when he was all of six, Anand said she made immense efforts to acquaint him with chess. Anand, the youngest of three siblings, and his mother would spend many afternoons solving chess games and puzzles together. Anand is also the recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri and is one of six players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE rating list.
Talking about feeling great about being a world champion, Anand, however, added with a laugh, "I am happier retaining the title than just having it. These championships have given me sleepless nights, because my fate of retaining the title depends on every competition that I face. There are situations when I get depressed and pessimistic too, and then there is nothing like a good night's sleep."
"I have learnt the art of focussing through a proper physical training regimen that I undergo every morning, which includes running or perhaps climbing the stairs," shares the champ. The food habits of this Tamil Nadu-born Tamil Brahmin are simple too. "I eat sensibly. That's all I do. Neither can I over eat, because that makes one drowsy on board, nor can I be fussy with my food habits."
Introduction in schools
Anand believes chess should be introduced to students in schools for the various necessary skills that the game imparts. "One of the things that I focussed on in the last eight or nine years has been to get chess into schools. This was done to increase the levels of participation in chess amongst young students based on the idea that chess helps in giving certain skills that are useful in studies as well.
This idea has been implemented in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, but there still remain many states where chess doesn't have a foothold. I hope to do something about that."
He added, "Schools are a natural venue for every child to develop in, so if chess is introduced in the curriculum, it would make a colossal difference."
The golden tip
The champion plans to keep going on in the future. "There is something that drew me to chess. I just keep going since there hasn't been any strong reason till date to stop playing," he quipped.
To aspiring chess players, the master offered, "There is no shortcut to success, keep practicing the sport and encounter all kinds of situations to be a perfectionist."