My dream is to see chess played in every Indian school: Viswanathan Anand

Last Updated: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 12:40

New York: Indian chess legend Viswanathan Anand, who was dethroned by Magnus Carlsen as the world champion last week, says he dreams about the game being played in every school in the country.

"My dream is to see chess played in every school in India," Anand, a five-time world champion, has written in an essay for the book `Reimagining India: Unlocking the potential of Asia`s next superpower`.

Referring to Russia`s dominance in chess, Anand said the Soviets were famous for including a chessboard along with the bride`s wedding trousseau to ensure that the children knew the rules of the game.

"For the Soviets, chess was in their DNA. With time and effort, our more intuitive Indian way of introducing a child to chess and letting his or her mind capture the essence of the game would not do too badly either," he said.

Anand was last week defeated by Carlsen, who clinched the title of chess champion after 10 games in Chennai. Carlsen won three and drew seven, and earned the highest rating of all time with the 6.5-3.5 win.

Anand writes in the essay that one of the things he brings to his play is his "Indian identity".

"I am often described as a natural or intuitive player. I agree there is something to that," he said.

Anand recalled that on his first visit to Moscow in the late 1980s, he was so intimidated that he thought he could be "checkmated by every cab driver."

"Such was the esteem in which India held the Russian chess school. As a young kid sprouting a wispy moustache, I was sometimes dismissed by the Russians as an upstart. I have even been referred to as a `coffeehouse player`."

"Over the years, Russia`s dominance over the game has ebbed and players have begun to emerge from China, Norway, Armenia and Israel," he added.

Anand said becoming the first Indian world champion brought a great sense of achievement to him.

"When I started out, the Indians did not have much interest in chess, no one talked about it. Now India seems to spawn new chess academies every day. The game is really taking off," he said.

"In some small ways, I believe that I may have made it possible, if only by showing that a coffeehouse player from Chennai without a physical trainer or psychological coach could hold his own against competitors from the Russian school."

PTI


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