India in London: Anand cautious, but optimistic

Express Adda

World Champion Viswanathan Anand said he was "cautiously optimistic" about India's chances at the Olympics beginning in London next Friday. India, Anand said, was in the reckoning in more disciplines than before, but was not an outright favourite in any.

"We tend to hype our contingent a lot. This time I am cautiously optimistic about our medal chances. We have a lot of chips on the table this time around and there is a lot of hope in disciplines like archery, shooting, athletics, wrestling and boxing. But we are not the odds on favourites in any of these," Anand said in the course of a free-wheeling discussion at the Express Adda in Delhi on Thursday.

Anand, who fielded questions from a select audience drawn from diverse walks of life, also touched upon what was one of his most taxing World Championship matches, against Israeli Boris Gelfand in Moscow this May.

After the first six games of the match ended in draws and he lost the seventh game, he felt he had blown his title defence, Anand said.

"That night after the loss in game seven was one of my worst ever. I felt like an ex-champion after the loss, and I could barely sleep. I kept tossing and turning and after having slept for just a couple of hours, had an early breakfast and worked a bit. Then I felt terribly tired and slept for a couple of hours again and staggered to the match," he said.

He won the next game, and the match was eventually settled by the rapid tie-break, which Anand managed to nick.

Speaking about the evolution of computers in the field of chess, Anand said the machines now had abilities that made it impossible for human beings to compete against them — and joked that the chess world had long accepted this fact.

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