Shaky Anand hopes to do well in Chess Olympiad

By PTI Published on Sep 16, 2018 03:27 PM IST

Kolkata: Geared up for his first Chess Olympiad since 2006, Indian great Viswanathan Anand Saturday said he hopes to uplift the team's show despite his 'wobbling' form of late.

The 48-year-old former world champion had distanced himself from the sport's biennial event, equivalent to the Olympics, owing to several issues, including the 'zero-tolerance' policy (that forces a player to forfeit a game for being late by even a few seconds) and the unpredictability of the Swiss format.

"Generally these days my form wobbles a lot more. I have noticed though that most players suffer from the same phenomenon. No one can go on forever. But I am really not concerned about it a lot. You play well when you play well," the world number 10 Anand said.

Making a comeback of sorts, the five-time former world champion will lead the Indian team comprising P Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, B Adhiban and K Sasikiran in the men's section in the 43rd Chess Olympiad beginning in Batumi, Georgia on 23 September.

"There is no specific reason why I stopped playing (Chess Olympiad). I don't have a specific reason for that but I am looking forward to playing. It's been a decade but we now have a very strong team," Anand said.

The Indian contingent won a best-ever bronze at the 2014 Olympiad in Norway, while at the last edition in Azerbaijan both the men's and women's teams finished fourth.

"I would like to say our chess players have made life quite hard because they have fared excellently in the last two editions so we have a very high par now. Hopefully, we will have a good result this time," he added.

He last played at the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, USA last month and remained unbeaten though he did not manage any wins either, finishing sixth out of 10 participants.

"The Olympiad is an individual event played by teams. I will do my best on my board but I will play better if I see the rest of the team playing well and they will do well if they see me playing well. It goes back and forth," Anand said.

"The same thing goes about your own game as you know the problems you face. But if the team atmosphere is good you benefit from that. I am confident our team will have a very good atmosphere, generally, we get along very well together. Even in the camps, we had a very good time. I am confident the atmosphere will be very good."

The former world champion also spoke about the Magnus Carlsen versus Fabiano Caruana World Championship battle in November and said it would not be so easy for the Norwegian this time around. "It's the closest World Championship match by rating. In fact, there were moments when it seemed like the No. 1 spot is up for grabs. Definitely, the fact that Fabiano is able to win

so many games means that Carlsen will have his task cut out. His confidence is not what it used to be," Anand said.

"Nothing is assured anymore, he (Carlsen) has to fight. For me, neither of them could feel sure of anything. The match could turn any moment and that makes it interesting to follow. Both of them have a style and would want to go at each other."

Anand also sounded optimistic about chess's inclusion in the Olympics. "I certainly hope so. We have our own Olympiad at the moment which I will be going to next week. But ideally, we would just like to be part of the Olympic Games. The good thing for us is chess could fit into summer or winter months so it should be easy for us to get in. There are a group of mind sports which are tryingto get in and I hope it will happen," he signed off.