New Delhi: As the World Cup Football nears its final with an impending semifinal clash between Spain and Germany, chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, an avid fan of the beautiful game is rooting for Spain, a country he calls his second home.
“I am closely watching Spain. I like their style of play,” Anand told reporters during a recent visit here.
The grandmaster who catches the FIFA World Cup fever on television says he was also keenly following Argentina and its star player Lionel Messi before the South American team crashed out to Germany in the quarterfinal stage. “Spain are the current European champions and it looks a little less difficult for them to make it a double,” says Anand.
Beginning his career as a chess player at the age of six, Anand won his first national title with a record cent per cent score of 9/9 points in 1983-84.
His level of concentration and composure in the game could well be a model of inspiration for many but the secret to his constant diligence of checkmating his opponents, says the chess wizard is “focusing on looking cool.”
“I focus on looking cool, whether I am cool inside that is another story,” Anand said.
“It’s not that easy to appear cool during the matches. But it is very important to remain calm and stay focused on your opponent and watch out for his body language in a match. One has to have a feeling of what the person across is playing out. It helps a lot,” says the grandmaster.
The chess ace, fresh from the glorious triumph over his Bulgarian opponent Veselin Topalov in a marathon encounter in Sofia to retain World Champion title for third time in a row, is currently cooling his heels before preparing for a series of tournaments later in the year.
With this win, Anand says he has accomplished something which no other chess great, not even Garry Kasparov has done.
He asserted his supremacy by winning the title in every format of tournament – knock-out, round-robin and two matchplay formats.
The Indian genius, after playing exhaustive chess for over three decades says he still vies for one more world trophy in his kitty and is keen to regain the Numero Uno position.
“Well from 2007 till late 2008, I was world number one... last year (Magnus) Carlsen had a dream year, but my position has improved, I am just four points behind Topolov. I am at number three, so it will be great to get back to number one.
Says Anand, “I know if I win, my rating will go up. If you start focusing on how to get your rating up, you can get sidetracked. Let’s see I have quite a few tournaments lined-up, I’ll try to regain that spot.”
The Grandmaster says he would be participating in five to six tournaments this year including the London Chess Classic.
Anand also exuded confidence in the young chess brigade of the country but said it’s difficult to pick the best among such talent.
“Yes we have quite a few names coming up – Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, Tania Sachdev and amongst the boys’ we have Abhijeet Gupta, Parimarjan Negi and others, but I don’t think they are breaking away from each other, it’s difficult to pick one, they are a talented lot,” he says.
Already a book old with ‘My Best Games of Chess’ in 1998, Anand says he might get into the shoes of a writer again in the near future.
“Yes it could be, quite possible, but nothing confirmed yet,” says the seven-time recipient of the ‘Chess Oscar’.