Anand hopes Olympiad win will deliver ‘long due’ nationwide honours for chess gamers


Chennai, August 31

It’s been seven years since a chess participant obtained the Arjuna award and the long-lasting Viswanathan Anand is hoping that India’s triumphant marketing campaign on the on-line Chess Olympiad will change this when the nationwide sporting honours are introduced subsequent yr.

In an interview to PTI after India received the highest honours collectively with Russia on Sunday, Anand, a recipient of each the Arjuna and the Khel Ratna, mentioned award recognition was due for the game’s practitioners in India.

“I hope this will lead to all sorts of positive things, including the reconsideration in the Sports Ministry for the Arjuna and Dronacharya awards for chess. It has been a long time,” mentioned the nation’s first Khel Ratna awardee, India’s highest sporting honour.

The final time a chess participant obtained the Arjuna was in 2013 when Abhijeet Gupta was bestowed the honour, whereas a chess coach has been given Dronacharya Award simply twice – Raghunandan Vasant Gokhale (1986) and Koneru Ashok (2006).

“Sometimes you need to show that we are still there and I hope, this results in positive impetus for many things,” mentioned Anand.

The five-time world champion was expectedly ecstatic in regards to the triumph although he did not anticipate it after server malfunction led to 2 Indian losses, prompting an attraction from the group.

Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh misplaced within the second spherical of the finale because of disconnection and server malfunction.

“I did not anticipate this. I imply clearly the strongest argument in our favour was that this disconnection was not our fault. The guidelines are clear that if a group loses by disconnection, they forfeit the sport.

“But in this particular case, it was quickly verified that the problem was not at our end. So the FIDE had to consider that in our appeal,” he mentioned.

The 50-year-old mentioned he was ready to be instructed of a rematch as a substitute.

“I anticipated one thing alongside the traces of replaying the second match…You know the Russians could not have been pleased with this and there would have been discussions. I used to be anticipating a replay.

“I think then the FIDE opted for the other route, declared both as winners. Look these are teething problems. We are starting online chess and this will not be the last disconnection in online chess. I think this was a fair decision,” he mentioned.

The senior Indian males’s group comprised, other than Anand, Vidit Gujarati (captain), P Harikrishna and Arvindh Chithambaram (reserves).

The senior ladies’s aspect featured Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, Bhakti Kulkarni and R Vaishali.

“It is nice to write their co-tales as well,” mentioned Anand.

Anand additionally mentioned that his efficiency within the occasion was not nice. “I was able to rely on the team,” he defined.

He additionally mentioned it was a good suggestion to have a web-based Olympiad this yr as a substitute of suspending it amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The occasion was a pleasing shock…The unique choice was to maneuver it to subsequent yr after which this good thought, I believe, to have a web-based Olympiad. Any sport nonetheless has to operate, you’ll be able to’t postpone it by a yr.

“I also commend their decision to improvise with the format. So instead of the same format, they got juniors and women, made the event much more fun to watch. It went really nicely.”

Lauding his teammates, Anand mentioned every one among them clicked in some unspecified time in the future.

“During the whole tournament whenever I watched the other boards…some team member somewhere had done something…,” he mentioned.

“Everyone clicked at least in one game. That really worked to the strength of India that we have such depth not only in men, but also women, girls, juniors.”      

Asked if the tweaked format helped India, he mentioned: “I believe in future will probably be good for India if you happen to can double the variety of boards, as an illustration to showcase our depth.

“Because we have so many good juniors, so many girls playing. Whether it particularly favoured us, I don’t know…nice thing is that if you are putting pressure on all six boards then you could feel someone or the other could click for us. Even when we had one setback, someone could rescue us.”       

On whether or not it was a aware choice by him to sit down out the primary sport of the ultimate, Anand mentioned he had expressed the will to play just one sport.

“Yes, it was. I mentioned with N Srinath (vice-captain) that I wished to play just one sport on the ultimate day. Because I strongly felt that we had a superb group. I believed we had to make use of that power.

“You saw without me the team beat China and that result helped us a lot. So I was happy to repeat that again,” he quipped.

The India-Russia ultimate was mentioned to be broadly adopted on-line with over 60,000 viewing it and there have been a variety of congratulatory messages flowing in afterwards, which Anand mentioned was a pleasing shock.

“Again, it is peculiar to this year that the whole chess world has kind of moved online. It is a positive feeling especially for this generation of youngsters who are part of this winning team.” PTI



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