'Failure is really painful'

Game on

'Failure is really painful'

Viswanathan Anand is as comfortable with his failures as he is about his success. On a visit to the City recently, the ‘Grandmaster’ spoke in depth about his life and
career.

“I started playing chess when I was six-year-old. My mother taught me how to play the game; she was my companion for a long time. As time passed,
I got better at the game, but something surprising happened eventually.

In a matter of just two months, I started winning and it was magical. I won many competitions defeating experienced people. It was then that I started dreaming of becoming a ‘Grandmaster’,” says Viswanathan.

Reaching the pinnacle sometimes leaves one with nothing to look forward to. And that was what happened when he became the ‘Grandmaster’. He explains, “After I became the ‘Grandmaster’, I felt I had hit the deadend. I did not know what to aim for.

I had nothing to acquire, no goal ahead of me. In such times, a man becomes complacent. I started making many mistakes. Rather than studying and avoiding it, I started to overlook them. This taxed me heavily and I lost the world championship in 2009 and 2011. So I had to reinvent myself, understand myself better. This took sometime.”

Chess is nothing but a mind game. It demands high emotional stability. He adds, “In chess, the game that you have built for several hours will be decided in a few seconds. You can see your hard work and strategies crumbling in front of your eyes. It can be shattering. Emotional stability is important in chess.”

“Many times, I have failed, and failure is really painful. The lessons you learn from it are — you always remember your mistakes and you consciously do not repeat them again,” he adds.

Giving back to the society and supporting the game has been a prime concern for Viswanathan.

“I believe that chess is a game that can be efficiently learnt in childhood itself. So I have collaborated with NIIT and started ‘MindChampions’ Academy.

Through this, we aim to popularise chess in schools and are currently working with 16,000 schools across India. The results and remarks have been very
satisfying,” beams Viswanathan.

Other than playing chess, Viswanathan is also interested in reading.

He particularly likes to read books on mathematics, science, geography while his other pastime include travelling and swimming.

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