SPORTS/HAIL THE CHAMP
India Abroad May 21, 2010
iswanathan Anand is on top of the
world. For the first time in the history
of chess championships, a player has
won the world chess championship three
times in a row. This is his fourth championship title.
Anand is arguably the greatest sportsper-son India has ever produced. Without doubt,
one can say he is one of the most accessible
and gentle human beings, unaffected by the
trappings of titles and stardom.
The World Champion spoke exclusively to
Shobha Warrier from Sofia, Bulgaria, after
beating Veselin Topalov 6.5 to 5.5 in a
thrilling final game to retain the title he won
Congratulations to the World Champion!
Thanks a lot!
Of the four titles you have won so far, was
this one the toughest and the most eventful?
Definitely, this was the toughest match. I
have never played a championship where
the result was fought till the last game. In
some of the earlier matches, the match situation was such that we didn’t even play the
last game. But this was very unusual.
The final morning, I had no idea whether I
would wake up as a champion or ex-champi-on, or whether we would be preparing for a
tie-break. Anything could have happened.
Did that thought haunt you all the time
before the 12th game?
It was an unusual feeling when it comes to
you. Then, you accept it and go to play.
There is not much you can do.
Is this the sweetest championship you
I think every championship is the sweetest
when you win. I am not going to choose
between them. I am happy with all of them.
But this one took a lot of effort from all of us.
We were all quite stressed, but we enjoyed
Due to unforeseen circumstances, when
you had to make that 40-hour road journey
to Sofia from Frankfurt, were you perturbed?
It was a very interesting experience. All of
them tried to be cheerful while we travelled.
There was nothing else we could do. We
tried to be as calm as possible. You have to
respect the volcano!
By the time we reached Sofia, everyone
was exhausted. It was good that we got that
one day postponement.
Did it make a difference?
Though we lost two days overall, that one
day made a difference. We could rest and
The very first game of the match came as a
shock to everyone. The way it ended so fast,
and the way you made the 23rd move
shocked everyone. Even your expression
after the move was that of shock....
I mixed up a move order. I was supposed
to play the King in the next move, but I
mixed up. The problem is, sometimes, it gets
over immediately before you had the time to
‘Every championship is the
sweetest when you win’
PHOTOGRAPHS: OLEG POPOV/REUTERS
THE RETURN OF THE KING
Viswanathan Anand proves yet again that
he is the undisputed master of chess
Viswanathan Anand won the World Chess Championship, beating Bulgarian Veselin Topalov in the final game of the 12-game tour- nament in 56 moves, in Sofia, Bulgaria, May 11.
The Indian Grandmaster won by a point: 6.5 to 5.5 to
retain the title he won in 2008.
Anand lost the first game unceremoniously against
Topalov but drew level in the second. He won the fourth
game to open up a one point lead before Topalov beat
him for a second time in the eighth game. The remaining games ended in draws.
Anand held the FIDE World Chess Championship
from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the world title was
The 40-year-old became the undisputed World champion in 2007 and defended his title
against Russian Vladimir Kramnik in
2008, thereby becoming the first player in chess history to have won the
world title in three different formats:
Knockout, tournament, and match.
The Spain-based Indian had a fair
share of excitement in the build-up to
his title defence with the volcanic ash
across Europe forcing him to undertake a 40 hour journey by road to get to
Topalov had won a play-off against
Gata Kamsky last February to earn the
right to challenge Anand.
Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov
during their World Championship match