Vis-win-athan Anand

Viswanathan Anand shared a cup of tea with Russian president Vladimir Putin yesterday at his residence. So, while on chai, we ask: Why O Why…

Illustration/ Amit Bandre

>> Should we not burst into a song dedicated to Viswanathan Anand considering he is the King of the 64 Squares — called, The Summer of 64?
>> Whether chess players moonwalk to ‘it matters if it is black or white’, Michael Jackson ishtyle?
>> Why our directors do not make a film called, Hum Aapke Hai Pawn?
>> Whether chess players are sometimes ‘board’ stiff
>> Whether one clothesline tells another, oh your excuses are just so ‘Vishy’-Washy
>> Whether you read that Viswanathan Anand’s opponent in the final was Boris Gelfand who was born in Minsk, Belarussian SSR and emigrated to Israel in 1998
>> Whether cheerleaders like we see in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will one day dance wildly at World Chess Championships and cheer the moves?
>> Whether the choreographers must consult Viswanathan Anand since he has the coolest moves in the world, now, baby
>> Whether chess’s world body FIDE puts a premium on FIDE-lity
>> Whether if Shakespeare played chess he would be known as the Board of Avon?
>> Whether in the last tense game, Vishy Anand got a little Mumbai distinctly un-Shakespearian air and thought to himself, “arre this Boris Gelfand has created so much raada (problem) yaar, I have to come up with some jhakaas move”
>> Why Viswanathan Anand does not write his autobiography, when so many lesser mortals have already written theirs?
>> Whether Vishy Anand’s son one-year-old Akhil smiled happily at his dad’s win, gurgled in delight or simply slept through it all?
>> Why there is no ‘Didi’ or ‘Dada’ talking about Viswanathan Anand’s win like we heard at the IPL?
>> Whether Vishy would ever strut about wearing sunglasses at night, torn jeans showing his underwear and throw sweets at journalists at press conferences like some stars do?
>> Whether Vishy in a designer suit is Swish Vish and whether women going crazy about brainy Vishy would scream like they do while hyperventilating when they see popstars: We love you, Dishy Vishy
>> Whether Viswanathan Anand is a perfect cocktail of brain ‘n’ pawn
>> We should have a television serial on Vishy Anand called: To The Manner Pawn
>> Why we do not have a ticker tape parade for the chess champ, Anand when he returns to India?
>> Whether models like Poonam Pandy would now scream that they are going to go nude at Vishy’s World Championship win and the media rush to photograph them?
>> Whether one board tells another, I may go in for a chess x-ray, today
>> Whether chess players have no option but to pay by check?
>> Why Viswanathan Anand does not get millions in endorsements?
>> Why the song, ‘Rook’ jana nahin, tu kahin haar ke… cannot be the Viswanathan Anand official anthem?
>> Why don’t you try to play some chess, look suitably serious as you stare at the board instead of reading this tripe, anyway?

Absolute Dominance
In an exclusive piece for the paper, a few years earlier, Viswanathan Anand had spoken about what he considered as sporting excellence. It was a time, when India’s sporting fortunes were on a bull run, with Pankaj Advani winning the World Billiards title and Vijender Singh winning bronze in the World Boxing Championships, amongst other achievements. Here are excerpts from what he had written which give a glimpse of his thinking:
“To be taken seriously as a sporting nation, we have to try for absolute dominance in the sport. However to sustain such efforts, it is imperative to understand that winning is not the end. It is always the beginning of a new and more difficult journey.

“Of course, when you have achieved something, it has to be cherished and acknowledged but one also has to understand that ultimately it is only the challenge, enjoyed en-route to the victory, which can only give you true satisfaction. “To be a world-class sportsperson, a lot of dedication is needed and this has to come from within. The aim should always be in excelling and enjoying your skill and potential. If your sport has to be pursued abroad, then you have to be prepared to travel, train, adjust and even sacrifice.

“In 1984, when I played the World Sub-Junior Championships, I was down with jaundice and throughout the event, I played looking downwards so that my yellow eyes would not be seen. Funnily, it was there that I met Alexey Dreev, Jeron Piket and Vassily Ivanchuk for the first time. I never really worried about hotels or food when I travelled in my earlier days. I had a walk man, which I would plug in and shut off other things for hours. "It is better to train our sights firmly on the people ahead of us rather than look behind and feel satisfied on what little we have achieved. And of course, the sporting community should nurture talent to increase potential.”

Spain's adopted son
Collado Mediano a small Spanish town, about 50 km from Madrid has been Anand’s second home for the past 15 years. Adopted as the ‘Hijo Predelicto’ (famous son) by the town people, his photographs adorn the walls of several shops and he is an idol for people there. In 1995, Anand had decided to base himself in the Netherlands in Europe as travel to Europe from India for tournaments sapped him of energy, time and expense. At that time, chess enthusiasts from Collado Mediano laid out a red carpet welcome for him and he bought a house in Spain instead. The Government of Lanzarote in Spain had conferred the Jameo de Oro (given to illustrious personalities with extraordinary achievements), the highest civilian award for foreigners on Anand in 2001. Anand was the third recipient of this honour after Jose Saramago, the Nobel Prize winner for literature and Cesar Manrique, the famous architect. 

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