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It’s not easy to be Vishy Anand

In 2006, I’ll continue working on different areas but as always I’ll try to enjoy my game, the Indian Grandmaster tells Vijay Tagore.

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It’s not easy to be Vishy Anand
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In 2006, I’ll continue working on different areas but as always I’ll try to enjoy my game, the Indian Grandmaster tells Vijay Tagore.
 
In 2005, Viswanathan Anand was the second-best player in the world and improved his rating and was closer than at any time in his career to the 2800 Elo mark. But for one tournament and one player, he would have become the best player and also crossed the magical mark. In an exclusive interview with DNA, the Indian Grandmaster looks ahead and hopes 2006 will be better. The wizard says current world champion Vaselin Topalov is not the only player he is aiming to beat.
 
How do you look back at 2005?
 
Chesswise I am very happy. I played some very beautiful games last year. My game against Michael Adams in San Luis was one of the best I played in 2005. My preparation was more deep. I found new areas to work on and was happy with the results. As a chess player I continued to grow, to learn and enjoy. If I had to compare 2005 with 2004 or 2003, it surely will pale in comparison. But as a stand-alone year, 2005 was good. My rating went up. I won some events and always finished second in all other events. I guess as a chess player it is a fantastic result. But when you are Vishy Anand, generally expectations can be very high.
 
Sure, 2006 will be different and better?
 
Of course I would want to do better. I will continue working on different areas. But as always, I will try to enjoy my play and always be curious to explore and learn.
 
Any goals for the new year?
 
Not really. Apart from the obvious ones. Russian journalist Alexander Roshal mentioned to me something that has a lot of perspective. He said ‘Anand is a player. He plays chess and does not prepare endlessly and calculate everything at home but he likes to play chess’. What he meant was that I am a very natural player and that is why my play seems so easy. This is something that makes me proud, but is also something I try not to hamper.
 
The dream 2800-mark is now in striking distance. How much time should it take?
 
I do not want to put a time limit. I think everyone knows how difficult competition is. I think I am just focussing on Wijk aan Zee now.
 
Is Vaselin Topalov the man to beat?
 
In Wijk, all 13 are the people to beat. Of course, everyone trains for the top players.
 
Do you really think he cheated in San Luis as some reports have suggested?
 
There have been rumours doing the rounds. Whoever made these allegations has to prove something or is able to establish a cause and effect of his alleged cheating. Without that we cannot make these allegations, as they are very serious in nature.
 
Which tournaments will you play?
 
I will be playing in Corus (13-29 Jan) and Amber ( 17-30 March). This is for the first quarter of the year.
 
Will you play in the Olympiad?
 
The AICF will shortly start work on putting the Indian team for the Olympiad.
 
How do you look at the progress of Harikrishna and some other Indian players?
 
Hari has really had a breakthrough year in 2005. His play seemed to be smoother and he had some good victories and played some very technically sound games. I guess in the World Cup, he was unlucky and ran into trouble with Dreev. Clearly he has shown improvement. There is a younger brigade, Negi for example. He played well in Hastings. I spoke to him after the last round, after he lost. He was really calm and composed. I think this shows a lot of character, especially for a 12-year-old. Srinath and Sethuaman are two other bright players. They have talent and are progressing well.
 
Can Humpy be the next women’s world champion?
 
Humpy has also been able to get her rating up last year. She is a very dedicated player given her young age. I worked with her in 2002 and her dedication to work really impressed me. She clearly has a good chance.
 
When do you plan to visit India?
 
Hopefully in June.
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