Mumbai: Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand was pleasantly surprised at the unsolicited assistance he received from Russian greats Gary Kasparov and Vladmir Kramnik during his successful World Chess championship title defence against
Bulgarian Veselin Topalov in Sofia last month.
“I hadn`t expected it. One day I got a message from Kasparov that he could help me with analysis if I wanted. Kramnik also got in touch some time later,” said the Indian
chess wizard here today.
The three-time winner of the coveted world crown said at the same time he was not surprised by the help offered by current world no 1 Magnus Carlsen as the Norwegian ace had helped him in the past.
“Carlsen has always been a help but I didn`t expect it from these two (Kasparov and Karpov),” Anand told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional event of NIIT here.
Topalov, in an interview after his loss, had criticized Anand for seeking help from Kasparov and Kramnik, saying 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.
He had also pointed out the disparaging way Kasparov treated Anand when the two clashed for the world crown previously and remarked he would never accept help from
persons who had humiliated him in the past even if it was offered free.
Anand, however, shrugged off concerns that taking Carlsen`s help during his clash against Topalov would expose his preparations against the Norwegian, who could be a
potential future opponent.
“(What I did to Topalov) I had already did it to Carlsen in 2007 and 2008. Besides we have a long standing collaboration. He has offered help to me before. This time he
being the World no 1, I was a bit hesitant but he himself offered his help,” the Indian great said.
“My next opponent hasn`t been decided as yet. Two years is a long time during which there will be many new moves,” he pointed out further.
Anand said he blew away a great opportunity to seal the 12-match series against Topolov in the earlier games, but was relieved to win the contest in the end.
“I had blown off an opportunity to win in the eighth and ninth games. Winning a match in the first three-four games is different and winning in the last three games during high
pressure situation is different . I would have been dissappointed not to win it,” he said.
Anand said he wished to leave a legacy so that the game of chess would be popular at the grassroot level.
“I wish to leave a legacy so that the game would be popular in the grassroots and masses will participate in it. The upcoming event in Ahmedabad, where they are trying to
create a world record by having 20,000 people play at the same place is a good step,” he added.
The chess ace said he was following the ongoing FIFA World Cup in South Africa with great interest.
“I was happy with Argentina winning 4-1 yesterday. However, I missed one goal. At least they are through to the next round. Spain kind of critical and probably have to win
their next two matches. Mexico have virtually eliminated France from the tournament,” he said.