Vishwanathan Anand, the five-time world chess champion, is set to defend his title against Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen. At his home in Chennai, he talks about preparing for the game's biggest event. Anand and his young opponent will battle in a quiet room at the Hyatt Regency in Chennai from November 9 to 28. Anand spoke to HT in an email interview.
How are your preparations progressing?
We will know only once the match starts. But I am fairly satisfied.
Is playing in Chennai an advantage or is there extra pressure?
It's a world championship match, so I will be treating it as one. Being in Chennai is a special feeling but I'm only thinking of the chess.
You have seen the past generation of players and Carlsen is seen as representing the new generation. Your thoughts on the generation shift.
Now is not the time to try and make observations. Yes, he does represent a new generation but in the end you have to still play chess.
Carlsen came across as a confident, mentally strong player when he spoke to the media in Chennai…
He is a tenacious player and tries to extract the maximum from any position.
He holds you in high regard and has worked with your team in the past. You think that gives him more insight into your preparations?
Guess it works both ways.
This game is being compared to the Spassky vs Fischer game in 1972.
I don't really give it much thought. I guess people like to attach tags to make it easier.
Your preparations have been different. Carlsen began training after a good season while you are having a longer preparation?
Each one decides to choose one's own rhythm; it worked out that way for me.
The training must be rigorous. How do you unwind?
I usually like to run late at night. I also like watching comedy series' like Fawlty Towers, Yes Minister, Monty Python or Ali G.
How does this world championship translate in terms of chess development?
Definitely this is a match that is interesting for many reasons. It will bring chess to the forefront not only in India but also in the world. I hope that in 10 years we have a talent that will say 'I watched the Anand-Carlsen match and it blew me away'.
Does your experience as five-time champion give you an edge?
I will not be thinking of it. That doesn't add to the start score. The experience will help no doubt.