Anand predicts exciting match against Topalov

Anand predicts exciting match against Topalov

Chess: World champ to kick off 2010 season at Corus

TACTICIAN: World chess champion Viswanathan Anand addresses a press conference during a function to felicitate the corporate chess tournament winners at KSCA on Sunday. DH photo

After brilliant two seasons — 2007 and 2008 — when he bagged the world crown by beating Russian Vladimir Kramnik on both occasions, Anand’s best performance this year was a second-place finish in the Blitz Championship won by Magnus Carlsen.
Anand will defend his world title against Bulgarian Topalov at the latter’s home turf, Sofia, in April-May.

The world number three predicted a tough but exciting battle.
“Topalov is much more aggressive than Kramnik, so he is a very dangerous player. He recovers well from defeats, he plays a very exciting game. So overall, I feel it would be an even battle in Sofia,” said Anand, here to felicitate the winners of the NIIT Mind Champions Academy corporate chess tournament, on Sunday.

Anand said it didn’t worry him that the match was to be played in Bulgaria.
“I always concentrate on the game, not on things which are not in my control. Ultimately, the venue is decided by FIDE and my job is to go there and play good chess. You don’t want your mind to wander and lose your match,” Anand, who has an ELO rating of 2788 points, said.

The Chennai-born player refused to divulge the strategy he would deploy against Topalov. “I am going to play in the Corus Championship in January. After that, I will fully focus on my preparations for the Topalov match. There are a lot of grey areas to improve on and I will shift my whole focus to the Topalov match after January,” Anand said.

‘Work harder’

Admitting that his performance had dropped from the high standards he had set in the previous two seasons, Anand said, "It was not a bad year but after two fine years, my performance dropped considerably. It’s nothing to do with losing focus. My opponents also improved a lot. I am going to work harder next year.”

Regarding his dream of winning an Olympic medal, Anand said, “FIDE has submitted an application to the International Olympic Council. We all hope a positive result come out of it and the IOC will include chess in the Olympics.”

‘Less participation’

Anand also said less participation from women in open events was a major factor behind them not being successful at the top level. “Apart from Judit Polgar, women are less competent in the chess world. I can see an improvement only if more women take up the sport.”

Anand, who turned 40 on December 11, said he had no immediate plans to quit the game. “As long as I am playing well, quitting doesn’t come to my mind.”
Later, Anand played simultaneously at the KSCA Hall with top 20 players selected after a corporate chess tournament in which 180 players from 50 companies took part. Anand defeated seven players and the rest 13 boards ended in a draw.

Standings: Corporate tourney (top five): Vedant Goswami (TPI Ad Services, 8.5 pts) 1; Pratik Sengupta (TCS, 8.5) 2; Suneet Singhmausil (Mobiledevz, 8) 3; Aman Chandra (Wipro, 8) 4; Jagadish HD (TCS, 7.5) 5.
Best woman player: Ishika S (6 pts).