Board inside the master's mind

Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand says the feeling of happiness you had during the game when you had not yet won is bigger than the feeling afterwards

He says that there can sometimes be a complete sense of vacancy even after a major win. And many a times, when something has happened it can pass by very quickly – this happens especially with a victory.

"You have this feeling that you're supposed to be happy, but mentally you've moved on and it doesn't do anything for you. You're satisfied in a good way. You've done what was required, but actually that feeling of happiness you had even during the game when you had not yet won is bigger than the feeling afterwards."

"It's almost like finishing your exams and getting to your school holidays. You feel like you should be incredibly happy, but after a day or two you're just used to it – it's something like that. I have to say, though, that feeling is only for my wins. My defeats can haunt me for a while afterwards," smiles Viswanathan Anand, the Indian Chess Grandmaster and former World Champion, whose latest book, 'Mind Master: Winning Lessons from a Champion's Life' (as told to Susan Ninan), is now available on stands and online.

For someone who learnt the game when he was six-years-old, Anand remembers that it caught his attention right away. "My mother taught me how to play and I got into it. It continues to be fascinating. I've never really asked myself what it is particularly that I found fascinating to begin with – and continue to."

Ask him about his experience of playing with some of the greatest from the erthswhile Soviet Union including Spassky, Karpov and Kasparov at a young age, and the chess master recounts that he was already playing in the international circuit for many years before encountering them on the board. "In the beginning they must have asked themselves if some of my results were a flash in the pan, and over time they accepted that I was good."

Recounting his encounter with the legendary Bobby Fischer in 2006, two years before his death, Anand, who grew up studying his games elaborates says, "I think a whole generation of players attempted to play like him. His openings were quite popular then amongst all of us because we were copying them. I met him in 2006. I found it enchanting – he still seemed very fascinated by chess. Obviously time takes its toll, but we did get to make some interesting analyses, and I was happy I had met him. I would say he influenced me even more before I met him than at that time."

One wonders if he still needs to prepare' before a game. "Well, preparation is a typical kind of preparation. You do whatever it is that makes you comfortable and ready to play. In the end that's all you really need. This can consist of studying your opponent's game, trying to get a picture of him. And, well, the most important thing is that you do a lot of training. Sometimes it's just about being in a good mood and being in the right spirit before the game."

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