Split at top level hurts the game, feels Anand

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Anand.jpg' class='caption'> Viswanathan Anand agrees existence of two parallel world bodies had hurt the interests of the game of chess.

Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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New Delhi:

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand today agreed that the existence of two parallel world bodies had hurt the interests of the game but said it did not take away the credit from the winner of a tournament organised by either. "It hurts that some people have preferred to have a split," Anand said referring to former world champion Gary Kasparov of Russia floating a rival association to the official FIDE. "It hurts them, it hurts us, it hurts the game," he said at a function organised by his sponsors NIIT to felicitate him on defeating Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in a match of two world champions in July. Anand, who became the world champion in January this year after overpowering Alexei Shirov in the final of the FIDE tournament in Tehran, defeated Kramnik, who beat Kasparov to become the world champion of the rival association, in a tie-break after their ten-game match ended in a 5-5 tie. Anand disputed claims that the absence of Kasparov and Kramnik from the official tournament had taken the sheen away from his victory in the world championship. "I can't put a gun to their head and ask them to play. It hurts their credibility too when some of the top players are absent from their tournaments. We have to accept it as it is. No one needs to make any apologies," he said. On his forthcoming tournament in Moscow, which again would be without Kasparov and Kramnik, Anand said, "it is still a worthy event to play in". Asked whether man vs machine games were fair, Anand replied in the affirmative. "The contest is fair as long as you agree to play." "Of course, the computer has the advantage in that it does not tire and is very superior to humans when it comes to making large number of calculations quickly but in some situations the machines can be prove to be rather dumb. Humans enjoy an upper hand when it comes to innovativeness," he said. "Any match that attracts public attention should go ahead," he said answering a question whether such games should be allowed. Anand said he was delighted to see a number of Indians doing consistently well at the top level. Praising 14-year-old Pendyala Harikrishna, who replaced Anand as the youngest Indian Grandmaster, and Koneru Humpy, who won the world junior title recently, the genius said, "They have tremendous potential to reach the top. Harikrishna would prove to be a strong GM. If he is willing to hang in there and keep working, he has very bright prospects. It is pretty much the same for Humpy. To win the world junior championships, is simply great." Anand felt the game was getting younger and younger with people achieving great deeds at a very early age. "At 31, I have already been the oldest player to figure in some tournaments," he said. "The players have been playing more and more matches these days and that takes a toll on them as they are not able to continue at the top for very long," he said. (PTI)

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