Viswanathan Anand Reflects on His Lowest Point Ahead of Title Rematch vs Magnus Carlsen
Ahead of the big world title rematch against Magnus Carlsen, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand says losing to the Norwegian in Chennai last year was one of the lowest points of his career.
As five-time champion Viswanathan Anand takes on Norway's Magnus Carlsen in the chess world title match in Sochi from November 7, all eyes will be on the Indian to see if he can take revenge from his bitter loss to the same opponent last year.
On Friday, Anand took a break from his preparations for the big game in Sochi in less than two weeks. The Indian Grandmaster says he is not overawed by the fact that it is a world championship match.
"I don't really think in those terms. I am just thinking about Sochi and getting ready for it," he said speaking to Times of India.
Carlsen had won his maiden title after defeating Anand 6.5-3.5 in 10 games of a 12-game series in 2013. The youngster said that Anand had cracked under pressure and that resulted in mistakes. Anand, however believes that the fact that Carlsen is familiar with the way he plays will have no impact on the match as every game is unique in itself.
"Each match is different and has a chemistry of its own - whether both players want sharp positions, tactical ones or want to keep the tension for the later rounds. It's very difficult to foresee how it will turn out. You have some basic ideas on what he would do and you prepare for that. I think we have spent enough time across the table to know each other well," said a confident Anand.
Looking back at last year's match, Anand admits that it was the lowest point in his career till date. He is keeping a positive mindset ahead of the clash in Sochi and feels his recent form is a testimony to how hard he has worked since losing the title.
"Chennai was a low point in my career. As far as I'm concerned, I played badly and lost and then was able to win the Candidates to play a match within a year. Both in Khanty and Bilbao, I was happy with my chess. So I'm looking forward to Sochi with positive feelings."
"Preparation gives you confidence to go out and play. But a match preparation is almost the pillar on which you base your match play," he added.
Anand does not rule out the importance of experience and says it is a good teacher in the long run. Anand also feels that each opponent is different and one has to play according to whom one is facing, adding that there is no definite approach he would follow.
"You play an opponent. The way I played Vladimir Kramnik, I couldn't have played Vesselin Topalov. Stylistically, they are different. Understanding of positions is different. Experience teaches you to go deeper into your opponents' head, heart and soul."
While he may be busy getting ready for the big rematch, that has not stopped Anand from taking a break and spending time with his family.
"I spend time with my son Akhil. We have our pet sports of pillow fighting and jumping into a tree house. Watching Terminator never fails to fire me up."
Anand is currently ranked sixth while Carlsen is world number one. In the lead-up to the title match, the Indian veteran has kept his interactions with the media simple, saying he is looking forward to a rematch with his Norwegian opponent.