No retirement yet for Vishy Anand (Roundup)

June 3rd, 2012 - 10:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 3 (IANS) At 42, Viswanathan Anand, who last week won his fifth World title defeating Boris Gelfand of Israel in Moscow, asserted that he has not thought of retirement nor he intends to in the immediate future and said he would like to continue playing chess since he enjoyed it.

At a media conference here Sunday on his return home, Anand heaped praise on his team of seconds and wife Aruna while acknowledging their support that helped him win the championship.

“I do not think I have nothing more to prove. For me, when I went to this match, I had no idea whether it was fourth or tenth. You want to defend your title, you defend it and you simply do not want to lose the match.”

“There is definitely no thought of retirement. In fact, it is quite the opposite. After this match, it is a huge boost for my morale as well and I really want to play chess. This is something I have enjoyed,” he said when queried about retirement since he had virtually nothing to achieve in chess.

As regards the role of seconds, whom he had dubbed as “band of brothers” in a recent interview, Anand attributed his success to the long hours that they had put in during the months of preparations ahead of the World championship match.

“They help you manage the workload. You cannot do it yourself. In that way, they allow you to rest during the match. It is for the third time that we are (seconds) together in my team. We have become a very close unit as a result.”

“What I really find good about that is very often they will say you need to relax and go and sleep. That gives you certain kind of confidence. Whenever necessary, they work in the night hours take the pressure off me.”

“That gives you lot of support. On the last day, you got to take two seconds with you for the game. They will give me a summary in just half a minute and then I go back in for the game. They can relate to what is on the chess board and how you should react,” he said.

On the role his wife Aruna played in his success, Anand said since their marriage in 1996, she has not only learnt chess, but also been a huge support as she let him concentrate on the game.

“We got married in 1996. One of the first notes that I received from my colleagues was that I am a strong player and hoped that the marriage will not take anything away from my chess.”

“It is nice that we have coasted very well. She has been a huge support to me. When we got married she knew nothing about chess. Subsequently, for many years she has played a big role and she takes care of everything else as I just focus on my chess.”

“Also, in moments like the seventh game against Gelfand, you really want moral support and she was there. She has also realised as to how difficult the World championship matches are. She knows when to say something and when not to. Sure, she has been a huge plus for me,” he said.

Anand stoutly defended the format of the championship match that included a tie-break in case of a deadlock after 12 classical games.

“Look, in the 1960s if a World champion drew the match, he retained it without a tie-break. On top of that, there was a revenge match as a bonus. If you look at that perspective, you see how unfair it was, but the current system is fair and much more legitimate.”

“The second thing is tie-breaks. It is not that we straight away start it. We were given 12 games to spot the winner. I do not see any objection to the tie-breaks.”

“It is a natural system and is followed in lot of sports like football, tennis and so on. It mirrors the development in lot of sports. Lot of fans really enjoy the tie-breaks in chess,” the champion pointed out.

Anand firmly rejected the idea of him turning to politics after retirement, like former World champion Garry Kasparov did, but that he was looking forward to the title defence in two years’ time.

“No, I am not planning (to join politics). I mean, I still enjoy the game and why should I stop having just defended my title? There will be a second title defence coming up over the years (in 2014).”

“Winning also makes you emotional…It is a real boost to my morale. I am looking forward to the next tournament,” he said.

“In 2005, he (Kasparov) retired and in 2011, he is making me to retire. So, he has been making my retirement announcements in 2011. Well, at least he should have consulted me,” said Anand.

He welcomed the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to introduce chess in school curriculum.

“It is an excellent idea. I had always believed that chess has huge educational benefits as it helps children develop such skills that will be useful in all walks of life not only in chess.”

“I am very proud that the Tamil Nadu government has introduced this initiative. I would like to thank Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for her support in this regard. She has always done many things for sports and chess. We will see the next generation of chess players emerging from such initiatives,” he said.

On a personal note, Anand said that the birth of his son Akhil has lent “balance” to his life and the experience of fatherhood has been “fantastic”.

“I must that the experience (fatherhood) has been fantastic and having a child is a whole new experience. Obviously, I missed him a lot during my three months training and during the championship. It would have been ideal if I had spent more time with him.”

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