'My win should take Chess in India to greater heights'

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Dubai, Oct 9: World Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anand has expressed hope that his win in Mexico City will take chess to greater heights in India.

The world's highest ranked chess player, Anand said, ''This is the ultimate title. To win it as World No 1 gives an additional sense of pride. I think a lot of our youngsters are exceptionally talented and with this win I hope Indian chess will go to the next level.'' The 'Lightning Kid' won his first World Chess Championship title in the year 2000 by defeating Spain's Alexei Shirov and became the first Indian World Chess Champion. He lost his title to Ukraine's Ruslan Ponomariov in the year 2002 after Ruslan won FIDE's knockout tournament.

The Indian grandmaster became the undisputed World Champion again by winning the FIDE World Championship Tournament held in Mexico City last month.

On winning the title for the second time after a gap of seven years, Anand said, ''It is a great feeling to win the title for the second time.'' ''I believe both my title wins were very smooth, but the present win is special because this is the strongest event right now.

Winning the undisputed title makes me feel happy, especially since I won in such style,'' he added.

About his preparations for the tournament, the 37-year-old Anand said, ''Since eight of the strongest players were there, it was tough for me to pick out one clear favourite. I worked in 10 to 15-day stretches since May for this championship. I also worked in India with chess player Sandipan Chanda. In fact, the black game against Boris Gelfand is an idea Sandipan and I had worked.'' ''For the rest, Peter Heine was my main second. We worked together on our fitness as well as my game. Since we work very well together, I feel the job was done very efficiently. Also, we were able to guess what our rivals would prepare and this helped a lot in planning our strategy.'' On the expectation of his fans, he said, ''By the second half, people had more or less proclaimed me the winner. This kind of a situation is a double-edged blessing. You might feel very confident, but sometimes the sense of euphoria might set in and the brain could go into a shut-down mode.'' ''It is very normal to feel tense. Only then you also become aware of all the problems that can come on the board. I do try and relax before a game. Ten minutes before a game, I start double checking everything. Only after you go to the board and play your first move you can start breathing again,'' he said in an interview to the Gulf News.

Anand will defend his title against Russia's Vladimir Kramnik next year.

UNI

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