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Viswanathan Anand says Chess players are fairly intelligent, but their career spans are getting shortened

News Agencies | Updated on: 31 May 2021, 20:56 IST
Viswanathan Anand

Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand has said that the career spans of the players are now getting shortened because of the intense competition within the sport.

He also said that physical fitness is now a key factor in life and it adds more pressure on each and every individual.

"The physicality of your life is coming into the sport. In the 70s, chess players thought nothing about going out for a drink every night. But now, fitness, fitness, and fitness. The level of physical tension and physical level is much higher now. This hard work is very energy-intense and therefore, career spans are shortening. This is unquestionable," Anand told Ravichandran Ashwin on the latter's YouTube show 'DRS with Ash'.

"Chess players are fairly intelligent. You can see these players, even if they quit chess and go and do something else also, they do it quite well and you can see there is a tendency they'll go to university or they'll go to some finance or they will go into research, you can see the parallels between chess and the new thing," he added.

Further talking about chess, Anand said: "At the same time, it is a specialised intelligence. Chess players are really good at playing the sport."

The 51-year-old also talked about how the sport was not looked like a career option back in the 70s and 80s, but he added that it has gradually started to change.

"In the 70s and 80s, probably like many sports, chess was just starting to become like a career. The main reason was Bobby Fischer. You could join a PSU and maybe find a niche or a public sector bank so that you get some support in that sense. You have a stable job and you could play chess. But it was quite limited and the second thing is, of course, computerisation, telecommunications all that also changed chess," said Anand.

Anand is a five-time world chess champion. He also went on to become the undisputed world champion in 2007, and he successfully defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010, and Boris Gelfand in 2012.

In 2013, he lost the title to challenger Magnus Carlsen, and then he lost a rematch to Carlsen in 2014 after winning the 2014 Candidates Tournament. The 51-year-old was the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991-92. In 2007, he was then awarded India's second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award.

Talking further about chess, Anand said: "I'm sure there's a generation in cricket that still looks down on ODIs and says it's not the real thing. Equally, there's a generation now in chess which just doesn't understand, even that there was once a question."

"So, the generation after that is quite hard to compete with. I've had one or two glorious moments like the World Rapid Championship in 2017 which I won. When I won that nobody could expect it and least of all, I didn't expect it," he added.


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First published: 31 May 2021, 20:56 IST