The dust has settled on Vishy Anand's new crown, at least everywhere except the comments around here. Here are a few of the better links to relive the glory. Most of the MSM articles contain the usual mistakes and inaccuracies, not to mention terminological butcheries (is "match" vs "game" really so hard to understand?). I suppose that's better than nothing at all, which is the norm. Many of the items in the Indian press jump the line into hagiography, but that's nothing new either. I recall that I got into the spirit myself nearly a decade ago when Anand was rooked out of an earlier title. This from a piece I wrote for the Indian magazine Outlook at the start of 1998:
Anand burst into the chess world like a streaking meteor. Like a meteor he had blazing speed and energy, winning games against Grandmasters while a teenager, often making his opponents look like the inexperienced ones. Anand makes chess look easy, playing deep moves quickly and calculating with a speed that sometimes makes even a Deep Blue look like a pocket calculator. But what has separated him from the rest of the world's top players, who are obviously quite talented, is how he has overcome adversity. Many people would collapse after such events and perhaps take up a less stressful profession, like lion taming or raising cobras, but Anand grew after each bad turn, redoubling his efforts and becoming an even better player. If the past is any judge of the future Anand will soon be back better than ever.
The Swiss philosopher Amiel said that talent is doing easily what is difficult for others, but genius is doing what is impossible for talent. Anand's will and talent have taken him near the top of the highest mountain several times, and when he finally reaches the top (when, not if) he will have done something impossible for just talent.
That after Karpov's legal threats against FIDE got him out of the Groningen KO field and into a special final match in Lausanne, where he beat the exhausted KO winner Anand in rapid tiebreaks. The background for that text should be purple, not yellow. But hey, at least it was a decent prediction.
Let's get back to 2007. Similar Anand interview clips appeared in many places, including this AFP item.
"I had a couple of difficult games, nothing too worrying for this kind of tournament," said Anand, 37, who also had a reign as world chess champion in 2000.
Known as the "Tiger from Madras," Anand replaces Vladimir Kramnik of Russia as champion, winning the tournament on points after tying a match with Hungarian Peter Leko on the 14th day of the contest, which he dominated from the start.
"I am just very happy with my game, we had a good team, I felt very well, my second (coach) helped me (with) a lot of interesting ideas, everything clicked," the new chess champ said.
His proud mother Susheela Viswanathan told the Press Trust of India news agency that her son was emotional when he called to inform her early Saturday about his win.
"With a choking voice, Anand said 'Amma (mom), I have won. I am the world champion for the second time," she said, speaking in the south Indian city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu state.
The Indian magazine Business Standard encourages Indian companies to sponsor chess in this fact-mangled piece on their new champion. (Anand, the first non-European, non-USSR champion!)
GM Ian Rogers produced the best quick reports from Mexico and his wrap-up at CLO is no exception. Some interview clips with the champion:
After Anand had taken the crown, attention turned to the prospect of an Anand-Kramnik match for the Classical (Match) World Championship, which many believe Kramnik did not forfeit even though he failed to win in Mexico. (Gelfand disagreed - "Anand is clear World Champion and he clearly deserved it.")
First of all - will the Kramnik-Anand match take place? "Sure." said Anand. "I think it's just in the contract - I don't know if dates are already mentioned but that is the plan."
Kramnik was also already thinking about the upcoming contest, tentatively scheduled for Germany in the middle of 2008. "I think that [Anand and I] are the two best players in the world right now. It will be a chance finally to decide who is who, who is greater. I am really looking forward to it. I am confident that my chances are not worse."
Some might have it that finishing a full point ahead of you at the world championship tournament would have answered the "who is greater" question. But as we already knew, for Kramnik it's all about the match. I rather hope he said something more gracious about Anand's victory somewhere. It would have been interesting to know who the "many" were Rogers referred to. Was that about the fans posting here and pundits online or were there players in Mexico going on the record? I didn't see anything like that.
Author Jeremy Silman signs on to the "Anand still not #15" team in his review of Topalov's new book on the Elista match. (ht Brian) I agree on the #15 thing, but that's really a separate argument from Anand being world champion. There's the Steinitz line of match play that Anand hasn't had a chance at since 1995. Being #15 would be trivia except there's a match next year that will keep the line alive. Then there's winning the only game in town and being the unified world champion and sole claimant, which he is. As I said before, you'd have to be awfully selective to name him 15 anyway. If you count tournaments into the Steinitz line you'd include San Luis and Topalov, and perhaps the KO's as well. I'm sure there's a slice of people who don't count San Luis but who count Mexico because of the unification or Kramnik's participation. To me it's like any sport that changes its format. The records and champions before and after are split by a divide. E.g. baseball records now that there are three playoff series instead of one, or 162 regular season games instead of 154. If there were never another WCh match the Steinitz line would just be over, but it wouldn't mean the world wouldn't have a chess champion.
This long interview with Anand in Rediff (ht JaiDeepBlue) covers mostly familiar territory. It's hard to get beyond the "one game at a time" stuff when a player is talking about a tournament. There are some cute bits about post-event activities with the family. That $390,000 first prize might already be en prise.
Are you chilling out now that you are world No 1 as well as the World chess champion?
Yes. We are going to Turkey for a holiday and then we will come to India by mid-October. We probably will spend a day or two in Istanbul.
How did you celebrate after the win in Mexico?
I went with some friends to an Indian restaurant. When the organisers asked the restaurant, they said they are closed on Sundays. Then they found out who was coming. 'If Anand is coming, I will ask my staff to stay and we will keep the restaurant open on Sunday,' the restaurant owner said. He not only kept the restaurant open but refused to accept [payment of) the bill. That was one of the most touching things I experienced after winning the championship.
Did Aruna give you any gift?
I think she is expecting a gift from me!
(Anand gave the phone to Aruna and she said: 'I had told him if he won the tournament he should buy me a diamond necklace! I hope I will get my gift! But I have promised to buy him a new telescope, and that will be my gift.')
This line from an early Sify interview: (ht argenine)
What was your first reaction after the draw which clinched you the title was signed. Did you feel like exclaiming ‘Yeaaaahhhh, I have done it again’?
Well, I don’t know how I feel. I am still giving interviews and the feeling is yet to sink in completely. It has been six long years since I experienced this sensation and it is just settling in. Maybe tonight, I will just scream YES!
Hmm, and I thought he was getting her a necklace! This from the Times of India: (ht PircAlert)
How did Kramnik (the deposed World Champion and Anand‘s perennial rival) take it?
Oh, he was quite sporting. He shook hands after we drew the game and then congratulated me again backstage. We didn’t talk much.
By then of course, you were already over the line. But I believe people began to congratulate you with several rounds to go...
Yeah, messages started pouring in when there were still three rounds to go and I was one and half points ahead. It freaked me out. When you are that far ahead with only three rounds to go and don‘t win, you’d shoot yourself. Maybe I am a bit superstitious, but it was quite unsettling. Then Gelfand beat Aronian and I drew a game and he was within a point of me. Things can whittle down pretty suddenly. So the last three days Aruna and I avoided eating at the hotel to try and not receive the premature congratulations.
Various outlets covered the news of Anand's win in India with comments from Indian politicians. Here's one.
Here's Vladimir Kramnik in Russia's Sport-Express (ht Vlad Kosulin also for translation),
(Q) What caused the slump in your play at mid-distance?
(A) The game vs. Grischuk happened to become the heaviest psychological blow for me. When I failed to win an absolutely winning position. And I saw how to win, but made a different move. This was very important moment. If I'd won, I'd have become a leader with +2. But I got not only +1, but because of the luck of the draw I had 4 blacks out of the next 5 games. This is rather tough test, and honestly speaking, I spent too much energy during this period.
(Q) You lost to Moro during this period. Your usual discretion failed you, and you undertook an adventure at queenside. Did you wish to win too much?
(A) Yes, I wanted to win very much. The tournament situation was not convenient for me. Anand was increasing the lead, and I needed to win with black. But there was no luck for me - this was Moro’s day. Alex is an unstable player. This is his problem. But when you happen to get in the heat of his moment, he can win vs. anybody. Remember how he won vs Anand in San Luis. One-way game! Unfortunately, the same happened to me. I lost, and only a miracle could save me the title.
(Q) Second place can't satisfy you, of course, but looking at your pace in last rounds, if there was a third lap, you would pass Anand.
(A) If there was a third lap, all participants would finish in a hospital. The tournament was a very tough one. Regarding the second place I took... In such an event the only place which is important is the first one. Are you second or eighth - is not that different. Of course, I am displeased with my failure to win. But I guess that my playing level was on par with Anand's. He just collected everything he could, as usual. He takes chances, he is always lucky a little, as I noticed. He played 1-1 with both the 2nd and 3rd players and had no winning chances in any of these games. This is very usual for him as a real tournament fighter. I had an understanding that it will be very tough to keep up with him in this. Only a win in our face to face game could decide things in my favor. Both games went under my control but unfortunately, both were drawn.
(Q) There are 12 games face to face awaiting you in the WC match. What are your thoughts?
(A) I guess this will be an epochal event without exaggeration. We both are the greatest players of after Kasparov era. Starting from 1993 we are on the same level. he has more tournaments won, and I have more WC matches. The upcoming match will put a period on who is stronger. And for some degree will put a line under achievements of our generation. it is obvious that we have not much time left to stay on top. A huge wave of young talented folks is going to take our place and in some time we will fail to oppose them. This is the law of sports. A law of life. My match with Anand will be the conceptual one for our generation. And an exceptionally important event for myself. I happened to successfully play matches vs strongest contemporary players: Kasparov, Leko, Topalov. And now destiny brings me and a fantastically strong player - Anand - together. I will be in earnest about my preparation. And I believe I can bring the crown back to Russia.
No doubt there will be more. Also check out the cool video coverage at the ICC and Chessvibes. ChessBase has some nice pictures from the closing ceremony. I'm a little disappointed with ChessBase's web coverage during the event, if only because they regularly reach a higher standard and I was expecting new heights for such an important event. Don't get me started on the official site.