Anand focuses on World Championships

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> World chess champion Viswanathan Anand says he is working to raise his game and play aggressively to overcome tough opponents at the World Chess Championship ne

Updated: December 21, 2009 18:59 IST
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Having endured a rather unproductive year in terms of achievement, World chess champion Viswanathan Anand says he is working to raise his game and play aggressively to overcome tough opponents at the World Chess Championship next year.

"I need to up my game and play aggressively. Veselin Topalov is very aggressive player. Vladimir Kramnik is a tough opponent as well. The preparations are on," said Anand, who has been preparing in right earnest for the two million euro World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria next April.

"This year has been a mix of fortunes. But compared to 2007-08, it has been a bad year. There were quite a few ups and downs. I will have to raise my game to compete against the best," said Anand.

While admitting that his opponents had improvised their game, he said lack of consistency had been his undoing this year.

"The opponents I faced showed lot of maturity and improvement. They also matched my game. I need to improvise on my moves," said Anand.

"I have the Corus tournament and World Championships next year. They are important tournaments. I will have to forget the past and concentrate on the new season."

Anand was happy that Indian youngsters were doing well in international chess championships.

"I rate P Harikrishna, Saumya Swaminathan, Baskaran Adhiban and Parimajan Negi as highly promising youngsters. They have a bright future as their performance in the international scene has been very impressive," said Anand.

The 40-year-old Grandmaster believed that India is heading in right direction and should be making their mark on the international scene.

"This year there were 8.5 lakh children participating in the NIIT Chess Master tournament. It is an encouraging sign for Indian chess," he said.

He said chess was an interesting game if the masses understood the rules.

"There is technology where you can watch the match live online and also on TV. If people understood the game, I'm sure we would have a lot of chess fans by now.

"We have a huge population. There is so much potential talent up for grabs. Few rural areas have never heard of chess nor played the game. It is our duty to teach them and cultivate the sport in those areas," said Anand.

He was encouraged by the number of chess clubs mushrooming in the country.

"Since last year, about 6282 clubs have been registered with the federation. The infrastructure is in place to tap talent. We will give the aspiring players the right platform. The introduction of chess in government schools in remote villages has helped us to promote the game to a larger extent," said Anand.

Anand, however, felt that women players needed more encouragement in the country.

"We want more women players to take up chess. There are few participants at the national level and hope it will grow," he said.

He preferred to stay clear of the raging controversy on golfing great Tiger Woods' infidelity.

"I simply don't have an explanation. It just happened," said Anand.

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