Kolkata :Sharing the secret of his success at the World Championship, Indian chess wizard Viswanathan Anand on Monday said he unnerved rival Veselin Topalov by playing fast and aggressively towards the climax of title battle.
"Inevitably, you start to adapt your opponent's game after a few rounds. I was observing him for 7-10 games. In the 10th game, I switched back to play faster and fought back... It seemed to have an affect on him (Topalov)," Anand said about his secret of the success in Sophia in May.
Anand said it was the most difficult World Championship as none of the earlier championships went full distance.
"For the first time, it went full distance and was undecided till the last round. It was a see-saw and a pretty unique struggle. We fought till the end, so clearly it's the toughest of them all. But I am not sure of the toughest opponent yet," the genial Chennai based king of chess said.
After losing the opening game, Anand won the second, fourth and 12th (last) game to retain the title with a 6.5-5.5 win over the Bulgarian.
Asked to react on Topalov's criticism of him taking help from others, Anand said, "I have nothing to react now... I have already reacted by accepting the help and I did that gladly. I will do it again."
Besides wife Aruna, Anand had a four-member team comprising Peter Heine-Nielsen (Denmark), Surya Sekar Ganguly (India), Wojtasek (Poland) and former World champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan).
Anand praised Surya Sekar Ganguly for being very effective as a team member.
"He is a very good chess player and analyst who works really hard. We work together for last six-seven years and will work together for a long time. Why change formula when it's working," he said of his team.
On his former rival Gary Kasparov having words of encouragement for him, Anand said, "It was a big boost for the morale. We were friends, but it really feels good when you know somebody as your rival for so many years gives some words of encouragement..."
Anand also thanked his wife Aruna and said, "She did all the heavy lifting work. I am really thankful that I have someone with whom I can talk after the game and relieve myself".
Asked about his recipe for staying cool, he said, "I think I have only managed to look cool. I will be lying if I say I am not tense. But I have gained some perspective from the experience. You are tense before a game but at the board the dynamics take over and you feel relaxed".
Anand said chess can be mastered by anyone given a right direction at any good moment.
"It's a question of practise and right guidance at the right time. It can be encouraged in all ages and I think everyone can shine in chess. There is no real shortcuts, it's like learning a language. If you like the game it becomes easier as the workload becomes less."
Anand was here in the city to launch the NIIT inter-college chess competition where 10,000 students across the state will vie for top honours.
"It's really good to see that there is so much of enthusiasm at college level for the last 20 years. They are very well informed. Even they are short on time, they still follow a lot. It will be an annual event, hope it will be a great success and become a major institution in few years," he said.