Not Thinking About Carlsen Battle Right Now: Vishy
By Ashok Venugopal - CHENNAI
Published: 01st April 2014 02:00 AM
Last Updated: 01st April 2014 01:37 AM
Viswanathan Anand is pleased as punch at having won the Candidates tournament and setting up a rematch with world champion Magnus Carlsen.
More than the win, Anand is happy that he is playing good chess again. Going into the Candidates, he did not think of winning but wanted to play good chess. The first win against Levon Aronian gave the five-time world champion confidence and then on, he capitalised on it to win the tournament undefeated.
In a conversation with TNIE, the favourite son of Chennai opens his heart after one of the crucial victories in his illustrious career.
How do you feel after a convincing win, in a format that was gruelling and had some of the best players in the world?
It was a sense of relief. I played a lot more freely. I was wanting to play freely in the last couple of years. Somehow it was not happening. All I wanted was to play good chess and have a practical attitude towards the tournament. Very happy and satisfied to have won it.
Did you really give yourself a chance to win?
As I said, I wanted to take things as they come.
You had to win to set up a rematch with Carlsen. Were you under pressure or you took it as just another tournament?
I did not begin playing thinking I must win and have a shot at Carlsen or something like that. All that I wanted to do was play good chess again.
You said before the start of the tournament you intend to play a lot more aggressively. Did you actually do it?
I was trying to be a lot more aggressive. In the London Classic I did play a couple of games aggressively. I was conscious of playing good chess at the Candidates. I had a good start against Aronian and then it kind of floored up.
Many players did not give you a chance, with even our RB Ramesh stating that the scar of the world championship loss would take a long time to heal. Were you hurt by all this?
I did not pay attention to what people thought about me. I always take opinion from people who I really count upon. The loss in Chennai was painful. I was not the same player that I really was. People will talk about the loss for years to come. But I kind of moved on and did not think about it coming into the Candidates tournament.
What was the secret behind silencing the critics. Was it will power, pride?
I am not the kind of person who goes about silencing the critics. I just wanted to play good chess. Touch wood.
Did your experience come in handy?
Definitely. It was like in the world championship, playing against some quality players. My experience came in handy against the likes of Aronian and Karjakin.
Did you prepare differently for this tournament? Was there any change in strategy?
I did not have much time to prepare. Had the tournament been in June or July, I would have had more time to prepare. After Zurich, there was hardly any time. So I could not specifically prepare for the Candidates.
How useful were your seconds this time? Did you change them after the world championship match?
Not much. Krishnan Sasikiran was there. Sandipan Chanda was also there.
You had a good start in with a brilliant win against a tough opponent. Did you at that point start thinking I must go for the kill?
Winning against Aronian is always pleasant, for he is a tough opponent. It felt good to have a good start.
Which was the toughest match and why?
I think it was against Karjakin and Andreikin. Against Andrekin, I could have gone for a win. But I had to be practical and not take a risk at the cost of the tournament situation. Plus, it was very cold and travelling up and down the venue was also difficult.
Which player you thought would trouble you the most?
It was a good tournament where all the top players were participating. I thought every player would be a tough opponent.
Was the draw against Karjakin in the penultimate match crucial?
I think the draw against Karjakin was crucial. Had I lost to him, it would have made matters more difficult.
What did you do in the rest days? Did you relax or was it serious practice?
Basically it was an opportune moment to prepare psychologically to get back in the tournament. I took a couple of long walks.
Sasikiran had said you had problems in the end game. Did you work on that?
Yes. I think in the game against Karjakin I played fairly well.
Do you cherish this win more as it has come at a time when critics doubted your ability to bounce back?
I think the win is similar to the win in Mexico in the world championship in 2007. I think my style of play here was similar to that one. It is an important win in the sense that it came at a time when people had practically written me off.
How does it feel to take on Carlsen again?
I am not thinking about Carlsen right now. I want to savour the moment and enjoy the win.
Keeping your current form in mind, would you have played the fifth and sixth games against Carlsen differently?
The world championship match is over. There is no point in thinking about it. I have another opportunity (the rematch in November). Let’s see what happens.
Carlsen said it was time for him to teach you chess. You stated that when a person wins he can get away saying anything. With this win do you think you have proved that never write off a legend?
People say things they want. I just want to move on. There is another world championship match coming up and I think we should concentrate on it.