World chess champion Anand on Time website


New Delhi : India’s world chess champion Viswanathan Anand has recalled the time when he was “sucked” into the game, in an article on the Time magazine website.

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Anand, 37, was crowned the undisputed world champion at the World Chess Championships in Mexico City Sep 30 and took home a cheque of $390,000.

“Anand’s mother taught him the game when he was just six. A couple of years later his family moved to the Philippines for a year, right after the country had been the venue for a hard-fought but bizarre World Championship showdown between Soviet aces Anatoli Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi,” says the article headlined ‘India’s Great Chess Hope’.

“There was so much talk of chess and I just got sucked into the whole scene,” Anand is quoted as saying in the article.

Anand is also sad that India has not been able to make a mark on the world-sporting scene.

“Sure, India remains a major cricket power, and you wouldn’t count it out of any men’s field hockey tournament. But Indians have won just three medals at the last three summer Olympics, two bronze and one silver,” points out the writer.

“Compare that to the medal haul over the same period of their neighbour and fierce rival, China: 172 medals, including 76 gold.”

Anand responds by saying: “”It’s one of the things that nags Indians – why we’re so bad at sports. Kind of a mystery.”

The write-up is only for the Time website, said its writer Simon Robinson.

“It is only for the website and has not appeared in any edition of Time magazine,” Robinson told IANS here, adding that the website has 4.5 million “unique readers” who visit it every week.

Anand replaced Vladimir Kramnik as the world champion as he finished the World Championship with nine points out of a possible 14 and finished a full point ahead of the Russian and Boris Gelfand of Israel.

The Indian is one of the only four players in history to have gone past the 2,800-elo ratings barrier.

It is the first time Anand has won the unified world title. In 2000, he claimed the official FIDE World Championships played in India and Iran, but world chess was split then and some top stars, including Kramnik, did not take part.