Mumbai: German Grandmaster Thomas Luther has
backed Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and has hit out at Indian ace
Vishwanathan Anand for having taken the help of two former
champions Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik during successful
defence of his world crown in Sofia last month.
The decision of Anand to take the support of current
World No 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway against Topalov, too, did
not find favour from the 40-year-old German, who said the
Scandinavian could be the Indian maestro`s next rival for the
"If I were in Topalov`s place I, too, wouldn`t have
appreciated if an outsider had interfered in our match and
taken side," Luther, currently in the city to take part in
Mumbai Mayor`s International tournament, told reporters in an
interview at the Goregaon Sports Club.
"While Kasparov has retired, the real motive behind
Kramnik and Carlsen helping Anand will only be known in the
future," Luther said.
"Carlsen is the World No 1 and is likely to be the next
challenger to Anand`s World Championship crown," he added.
Topalov also, in a media interview after his loss to
Anand, had said the Indian ace should not feel "very proud" of
having taken the help of the two Russian greats who were his
past rivals for the world crown.
Topalov had pointed out the disparaging way Kasparov
treated Anand when the two clashed for the crown previously
and remarked he would never accept help from persons who had
humiliated him in the past even if it was offered free.
Luther also warned Anand to be wary of the Russians as
they were likely to target his world crown. "In Russia, the
school of chess is very strong. The game has many followers
there. It`s a question of honour for them to have a world
Luther, who followed Anand`s triumphant run to the world
crown against Topalov, said the rivalry between the two has
helped generate interest in the sport among the media.
"The World Championship series between Anand and Topalov
attracted a lot of attention from the media. It is good for
the game which otherwise is not considered as
spectator-friendly," the German GM said.
"That Anand won the Championship in the 12th game and the
series went till 5.5-5.5 points itself shows how close it was.
In the end, Anand`s victory was well deserved," said the
German, who attained his highest world ranking of 80 ten years
Luther felt teenage sensation Parimarjan Negi had the
potential to carry forward the legacy of Anand, but added it
hinged on the youngster`s keenness to do so.
"Negi is still very young but he has already reached a
strong level in chess. He can be the successor to Anand. It,
however, all depends on how big is his ambition to win."
Luther said he was astonished with the popularity of the
game of 64 squares in the country of its birth. "Chess does
not have too many takers in Europe. But I am happy with the
popularity of the game in India."
He also wondered why many top Indian players skipped
chess events held in this country.
"But I am surprised to see that apart from Anand, many
other top Indian stars skip events in India. I don`t know the
politics here," said the German, who has been seeded 17th in
the Mayor`s Cup.
For many, the division of Germany before its 1990
reunification was a painful experience, but for Luther it was
one historical happening that paved the way to take interest
in the game of chess.
"I was brought up in (erstwhile) East Germany which was
controlled by the socialist regime of the then Soviet Russia.
It was the Russians who brought the game of chess to Germany
and, probably, that is one of the reasons why I got to play
chess," he said.
"However, what happened during the period (in East
Germany) was not something to be remembered and it`s good that
East Germany and West Germany have unified," he added.
On his future, the German said he had no further ambition
and will continue playing as long as he enjoy it.
"If it is success, it is good but its no longer the
objective. I will continue as long as I am successful. Once I
am done I may take up coaching," he added.