'Psycological warfare must'

General: Anand satisfied with his performance despite defeat to Carlsen

'Psycological warfare must'

Psychological warfare, euphemistically known as sledging, has become essential to stamping ones authority over opponents in most modern sports. Viswanathan Anand, perceived as one of the calmer sportspersons, categorically agrees to it.

“I would assume that psychological warfare should exist in all walks of life (and just not sport),” Anand, who was in the City to open an NIIT nGuru MathLab Plus on Tuesday,  says with a broad smile.

“It manifests in different ways but I think invariably the way you do any profession will be coloured by how you relate to people around you and the tension that’s just as fundamental as how good you are in what you are doing,” he explained.  “People will perform better when they are in a good mood rather than when they are under pressure but at least in chess, psychological warfare is a major aspect.”

When pressed to reveal how opponents in chess use it to gain the upper hand, the Chennaite was quick to reply: “The old technique used to be to trash each other during interviews. Some of the psychological warfare is good when you look energetic and take bold risks (on the chess board). On the bad side, you could needle someone at many levels,” Anand pointed out.

Moving away from the mental aspects of chess, the five-time world champion said he was enjoying playing chess even though he suffered a loss in the World Championship match against Nowegian wonder kid Magnus Carlsen. “I reworked the way I trained for the match (against Carlsen),” he said.  “I managed to create many more chances. But unfortunately it wasn’t enough.

But overall, the year has been very positive. I managed to win three tournaments -- Candidates (March), Bilbao (September) and London (December). I played much better chess this year than what I managed last year. And I have enjoyed playing chess,” said Anand, while dismissing thoughts of retirement for the forseeable future.

The champion also went on a lengthy monologue asking spectators to switch off the chess engine once in a while while watching games. “People have a right to enjoy a sporting event at any level they choose.

Would we rather they didn’t watch? That wont be realistic. What I would emphasise to spectators is that if you don’t switch off your computer once in a while and think for yourself, you will never experience what the players experience,” he continued.

“You’re missing a lot of the excitement if you think the next move is easy simply because the computer found it. But I would say if you want to enjoy a chess game more, you should at least partially try to think for yourself.

However if you’re a casual fan, it would be unfair to expect you to start thinking a lot. And if they want to enjoy the game with the engine running, that’s fine. It’s annoying though when a journalist or a spectator dismisses your efforts but it comes with the territory, added Anand.

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