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Anand Speaks

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Viswanathan Anand is always in the news in India, not that he hasn't deserved it with his dominance of the past year and a half at the board. He's about to embark on a tour of India to promote chess. Vishy has also been in the papers in the past week talking about the chances of the Olympiad team he will lead for the first time in a decade and corporate sponsorship of chess in India. It's nice to see the easy-going Anand taking an active role, and playing for the national team is a huge part of that. Even with the strongest board one (Kasparov isn't playing, as was revealed here) and Sasikiran on board two, Anand doesn't sound too optimistic, at least not about the men's team.

"We will be playing some top chess playing countries like Russia, Israel, Ukraine, USA and Armenia among others and it will be a tough task for us to win a medal as all the members of the team will have to do well consistently," Anand told reporters here.

"Compared to the men's team, probably the women's team has a very good chance of winning a medal as they not only have a very good team but their opponents too are not as formidable as in the men's field," he added.

Touching on various topics, the champion said that his next important assignments are to see that his team does well at the Olympiad and to win the Chess Oscar.

On his recent performances this year, Anand said, "this year has been very good for me and I hope it will continue for some time. I think I did pretty well to win the Corus Grandmasters tournament in Wijk Aan Zee and then the Dortmund Chess and Mainz Chess in Germany which had chess greats like Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik in the fray."

Perhaps a misquote, as Kasparov didn't play in any of those events. But they did meet in the Armenia vs the World match in Moscow this year, a 26-move draw. (My report here.)


It's sad to hear of Anand's pessimism given that India came in 8th in the Istanbul Olympiad without him (29th in Bled). With Anand's presence (alone), India will be a force to compete for one of the three medals. I hope his comments do not dampen the morale of the younger players. I'm pretty sure they are excited since great players tend to raise the level of their teammates' play. Either Anand is "sandbagging" or he is underestimating his impact. India will excel in Mallorca!

I felt the same way after reading the press reports. There's a slightly upbeat assessment by Anand in a REDIFF interview, as below:

You will lead the Indian team at the Olympiad. How do you rate our chances?

I hope so. Like I said, it is an unpredictable tournament with an unpredictable format. Maybe we will finish among the top three. Certainly, that's what we are dreaming of.

Here's the URL: http://us.rediff.com/sports/2004/sep/15anand.htm


Thanks for the link.

What I'm concerned about is the chemistry. India already had a solid team and in the last two Olympiad they have surprised some powerful teams without Anand. As I see it, adding Anand is a wonderful "problem" to have.

I've written a brief about the chemistry issue:


Anand's nod to USA being one of the best teams shows how out of touch he's been. We finished like 41st or something two Olympiads in a row, while the Indian Team has been steadily improving. By the way, I think India beat us 2.5 - 1.5 in Istanbul 2000.
In any case, Sasikirian and the others on the new India Team owe nothing to Anand, and shouldn't welcome his jumping on the bandwagon. The guy has lived in Spain for the past 15 years or so and obviously has had nothing to do with development of the new geneartion of chessplayers in his native country.

Yemo I think u know nothing about Anands influence on players in India. before him chess is not a priemere sport in india. with in decade and half of his success we have so much talent in india. remeber he was first GM in india ... now the list grows on .. he is living in spain because hardly there is any tornament of his caliber in india ....

I think both of you have good points.

Anand's residence in Spain may not make for the best chemistry, but his influence has been huge. I think if Anand lived in India, he wouldn't be able to walk the streets in comfort.
He is a regular in the Indian press has been providing all types of encouragement to the younger generation.

On the other hand, if I were playing along side of a superstar player, maybe I'd be concerned about disappointing him. Anand and the team captain have to address this in the team meetings.

As for the U.S., they have a lot of pressure on them. Without Nakamura and Akobian, they will continue to struggle. I think Yermo may have been right when requesting that one of the players relinquish a position. The U.S. needs perhaps three young players to represent the changing of the guard. Take a look at Azerbaijan.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 14, 2004 11:31 AM.

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