In the German city of Bonn, Indian chess master Viswanathan Anand has defended his title as World Champion. 38-year-old Anand needed only a draw in the 11th game against Russian Vladimir Kramnik on Wednesday. Shortly after his victory, Anand talked to Deutsche Welle.
Anand, left, and Kramnik battle it out in Bonn
„I made six-and-a-half points. But I think the last half point was almost like the first four."
Viswanathan Anand was visibly relieved after Vladimir Kramnik, playing with the black pieces, offered a draw with his 24th move. Their contest, originally set for 12 games, finished one game earlier, as Anand had taken an unbeatable lead. Anand had earlier won three games, but Kramnik had won the last, the 10th game – and this put the Indian under quite some psychological pressure, he admitted:
"It’s a guessing game, you keep on guessing what your opponent is doing. So it looks like: I make a move, he reacts to that. But we are looking for all the information: If he makes a move, why didn’t he make something else? What has he changed? What might he have prepared? So this, sort of, mental game goes on. In fact, also in the press conference, he tries to give a very confident look. It’s all part of the body language. You try to show your opponent you’re confident. This match takes place at many levels!"
Always a step ahead
Anand was satisfied with his overall performance, saying that Kramnik had forced him to play some of his best chess ever. For him, constant innovation is the key to success:
"I think it was slightly risky that I changed my openings before this match almost completely. It was a gamble, it paid off. But you have to constantly do this. Because now I am sure my opponents will see what I am doing, and they’ll react, and that’s how chess goes. Normally, nowadays, you get to use a good idea once. And then everybody catches up, and then you’ve to work hard. So there’ll be a lot of work, but I think such a match gives you wings also."
"India's future is bright in chess"
Anand’s success on the international stage has triggered a lot of enthusiasm for the game in India. The champion himself believes that a lot has been happening of late to promote talented young Indian players:
"We might bring a lot of kids from parts of India which are not traditionally into chess like Bengal and Tamil Nadu, but other parts of India, into the game. And I think that it could become much more broad-based. But definitely, India’s future is very bright in chess."
For a country not exactly used to victories in international sports, Anand’s defence of the World Championship is certainly a reason to celebrate.