‘It’s too early to write me off. When something like the World Championship rolls along, I give it a lot of my energy’

Walk the Talk

In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24x7, Viswanathan Anand talks to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on winning the World Chess Championship for the fifth time, his rivalry with Garry Kasparov and India at the Olympics

I am at Delhi's Habitat Centre and my guest this week is somebody who has been the toast of India for more than two decades now—Viswanathan Anand. You are the greatest champion India has ever known and there's a long way to go still. It's a great feeling, isn't it?

Yes. This year has worked out well. Obviously, everything was riding on this World Championship for me because I didn't play any other event this year. And that has been very, very satisfying. And well, you wonder how the rest of the year's going to match up because you can't replicate that kind of excitement.

The word burnout has been thrown at you many times. Burnout, loss of motivation.

Some of it was part of an agenda. So they weren't all objective evaluations. I'm not going to pretend that I'm able to play every single event at 100 per cent, but I still think when something like the World Championship rolls along, I'm able to give it a lot of my energy and I think it's too early to write me off.

Looked like a whole superpower—Russia—was against you. I mean, a chess superpower, not just a political superpower.

Well it was mixed. It was really (Garry) Kasparov, and doing it in such a pointed way. I mean, he would come to the press room and make statements that were designed to get them going. As for the rest, I got the sense that a lot of people there were rooting for (Boris) Gelfand simply because he's Moscovite himself. He studied there for a couple of years, he has his roots there. So I didn't feel it was that personal against me.

... contd.

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