Indian journalist (and long-time friend of this blog) Jaideep Unudurti has had many interviews with Viswanathan Anand over the years, and here is another one. In it, Anand doesn't discuss the chess world per se, but the common cultural perceptions of the chess world and chess players common to the broader culture, particularly as it is seen in three recent films. It's worth a read, and may be worth sharing with some of your "civilian" friends and loved ones.
Entries in Jaideep Unudurti (7)
I'm not sure where the original interview was, but Jaideep Unudurti, our essential source for all things Viswanathan Anand, has very kindly supplied us with the full text of his interview with the former world champion. This took place shortly after the end of the London Chess Classic, which Anand won on tiebreaks thanks to his last-round with the black pieces against Michael Adams.
Q: Let’s go back to the dramatic last round. You got into the Berlin versus Adams who’d worked as Carlsen’s second. Were you worried about falling into ‘prep’?
I assumed if they had found something, Carlsen would have actually used it in the match. So there was some consolation that in fact they didn’t find anything very effective.
We had also checked it very well and in the end, it comes down to ‘do you trust your own analysis or do you get scared by ghosts?’
And the other thing I wanted to do was to avoid indecision at the last stage so I took a very quick call to just play this and stuck with it.
Q: Your head-to-head against Adams is in your favour, but he’s beaten you the last two times?
Yeah exactly, I used to have a very very good score against him. And the last two games I lost was very similar to how he lost to me yesterday. We had a normal game and suddenly it turned around violently. So I was happy to improve that record a little bit. But its not something I thought about a lot. I just wanted to play the game yesterday that was it. I just wanted to end the year on a good note.
Q: You’ve been dropping quite a few crucial last round games in tournaments…
The pattern is getting alarming. Having said that there is no point thinking about it. Then you start obsessing. I have lost quite a few last round games in the last two years.
And infact even the rapid game with Nakamura, I thought was really silly. Because there isn’t much reason to play on so I should have just taken his draw offer. I’m happy this one went differently.
Q: Wasn’t it surprising that 5 of 6 players could win the tournament the last round?
No it isn’t. That is the thing with this football scoring, in that it very often produces situations like that. My hunch is that people forget after a tournament how many people had chances before the last round or the last two rounds. I think in most tournaments this system has the advantage that you keep half the field or more than half the field in contention. I mean it is almost impossible for half the field not to be in contention. Unless one guy wins four games or something and is beyond reach.
Q: Were you tracking what was happening in Giri-Kramnik and Nakamura?
I don’t like to sit and depend on other people. So after I finished my game, I just wanted to come back to the hotel. I mean by winning my game I had a satisfactory finish to the year and I was happy with that but by this point I understood that both Giri would draw and Nakamura wouldn’t win. If Kramnik had won he would have gone ahead, and if Nakamura had won he would have gone ahead. All these results could have passed me but by the time I’d finished I knew that the most likely result was that I would win on tie-break.
Q: After the blitz you had 3 blacks in a 5-round event. What were your expectations?
Honestly I think in 5 games its better not to look for any patterns. Over longer tournaments at least some trends will become clear but 5 games it hardly matters. It is so short that the main thing is to get on with the job at hand. So I didn’t think about it too much. I was fine with the colours. To be honest I didn’t really mind an extra white or an extra black.
Q: Nakamura essayed the Evans Gambit; were you taken aback?
I looked at it quite recently in fact and that was quite useful. Like with many openings, taking a fresh look with a new computer produces completely new results so it was good I’d done that.
Q: Are we going to see a lot more of such approaches, thanks to the Berlin?
It cuts both ways. There seems to be an increase in the number of Berlin endgames and in the sidelines. I think the Berlin is just becoming more popular (laughs).
Q: Next year for the first time in 8 years you will not be either playing a world championship or preparing for it. What are your thoughts?
I think the main thing is that your focus can shift to tournaments. It is not like that you can stop working. The point is that instead of thinking of one person you can think of everybody in chess. That obviously means more things to work on; it is a chance to do things very differently and I’m going to try and make use of that.
Q: What are your plans and goals for 2015?
I’m going to play in Baden and then in Zurich so that’s as far as my plans have gone now. And then later on I’ll see what else I can play, I mean it depends on the invitations I get.
Just enjoy chess. It is a great feeling to have good results and play well and leave the tournament with some satisfaction.
Q: Recently we saw top players taking part in the Qatar Open. Would you ever play in an Open tournament?
Could be very interesting and I heard very good reviews about it. Definitely if something like that comes along, I would take a close look at it.
Once again "our" man on the scene Jaideep Unudurti has scored an interview with ex-world champion and current world championship contender Viswanathan Anand. It's a short piece and there's no "red meat" about the coming title tilt with Magnus Carlsen, but there are some interesting comments about the recently completed World Rapid & Blitz Championships, especially the rapid portion of the event.
It's worth a look, and I hope to present the games Anand referred to in a subsequent post.
"Our" India correspondent, Jaideep Unudurti, has interviewed ex-champ and newly minted challenger Viswanathan Anand yet again - and has kindly informed us of it as well. In it Anand discusses the high and low points of the recent Candidates' tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, exulting in his wins and expressing his dismay about the missed wins against Dmitry Andreikin in round 12 and the tension of the battle with Sergey Karjakin in round 13.
A place where I might tentatively disagree with Anand is with his self-assessment regarding his pragmatism. He noted that Magnus Carlsen referred to him as "pragmatic", but Anand states that his only decision of that kind came at the end of the last Andreikin game, when he went for a repetition instead of a complicated but winning variation. But I would add to this his avoiding 20...Rxf2 against Peter Svidler in round 7. There are some complications, but they are well within Anand's capacity to navigate. If Anand's orientation was a bit less on the safe and pragmatic side I suspect he would have pushed himself to work through the lines to the end; I've seen him calculate far more complex lines when the situation dictated it.
But enough conjecture: have a look at the interview, and let's wait to see if Anand plays increasingly bold and confident chess as the year goes on.
Jaideep Unudurti is an Indian journalist who often writes about chess; happily, he also regularly comments on this blog. He has written what he describes as a "mood piece" on the match for today's (Sunday's) Economic Times. Have a look.
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with Jaideep Unudurti, who not only offers comments here on a regular basis, but is sometimes a featured part of the blog posts themselves. (You might remember his recent adventure playing blitz with Viswanathan Anand, for example.) This is true of this post as well, as we have here an interview with Peter Heine Nielsen, to appear in the May issue of Man's Magazine. Nielsen is a strong Danish grandmaster who worked for many years as one of Anand's seconds, but who recently helped Magnus Carlsen in the Candidates' tournament. Here, with thanks to Jaideep, is the interview (or at least parts of it - I'm not sure if there will be more when it's officially released):
This is the first WC you'll be sitting out after a long time, will you miss the excitement?
I would expect so! but the main difference will more be social actually. We are used to spending really a lot of time together in the team, and thats somehow a more drastic change.
You've seen Carlsen from his formative years, in broad terms how would you characterize him as a chess player?
He is an extremely strong practical player. in London he used all the chances he got, and that was the main difference to his competitors. He is 22, and still not fully developed, so hard to attribute him a specific style yet.
Where do you see the battleground, what type of positions would Magnus like to see on the board, and vice versa, for Anand?
I actually think both players are so all-round, that what they really care about is the quality of their position. Maybe Magnus prefers longer technical games, and Vishy more dynamic positions, but they would both happily take a position in their opponents so-called terrain, if their position is objectively better.
Magnus has his own distinctive low-on-theory approach, is this the wave of the future?
It seems indeed that the days of big novelties are over, and that fits Magnus style well. If this is the future? Well maybe this match will tell!
Kasparov has stated his interest in assisting Carlsen. Will this be a key factor or has too much water flowed under the bridge?
I really think the main battlefield by far will be the actual play, and that preparations, advisers etc. is secondary. Kasparov and Carlsen has worked together on several occasions, with both ups and downs. Kasparov's match experience might actually only be matched by Vishy's, and of course Magnus could greatly benefit from such advice. On the other hand one often has to find ones own individual approach to such a challenge as a WC-match. I think the chess-world can look forward to a very interesting match indeed!
Longtime readers of this blog will be quite familiar with freelance writer Jaideep Unudurti, who often contributes not only opinions but also news and interview information in his comments. This time around, I had the privilege of assisting him in an auxiliary role as he prepared for an informal two-game blitz match with world chess champion Viswanathan Anand. Jaideep may not have succeeded against the champion, but his five-page article about the encounter is a success, interesting to chess players and non-chess players alike. Have a look.
[HT: Ross Hytnen. I knew that this article was coming, but Ross managed to tell me before Jaideep did!]