‘It’s been a while’: Anand wants Olympiad win to bring long due national honours for chess players


It’s been seven years since a chess participant were given the Arjuna award and the long-lasting Viswanathan Anand is hoping that India’s triumphant marketing campaign on the on-line Chess Olympiad will trade this when the national carrying 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 popularity is 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 of the Arjuna award and the Dronacharya awards for chess. It has been a long time,” mentioned the rustic’s first Khel Ratna awardee, India’s very best carrying honour.

The remaining time a chess participant gained the Arjuna was once in 2013 when Abhijeet Gupta was once bestowed the dignity, whilst a chess trainer has been given the Dronacharya simply two times – 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,” Anand mentioned.

The five-time international champion was once expectedly ecstatic concerning the triumph although he didn’t be expecting it after server malfunction led to two Indian losses, prompting an enchantment from the group. Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh misplaced in the second one spherical of the finale due to disconnection and server malfunction.

“I didn’t anticipate this. I mean clearly the strongest argument in our favour was that this disconnection was not our fault. The rules are clear that if a team loses by disconnection, they forfeit the game. But in this particular case, it was quickly verified that the problem was not at our end. So FIDE had to consider that in our appeal,” he mentioned.

The 50-year-old mentioned he was once ready to learn of a rematch as a substitute. “I expected something along the lines of replaying the second match…You know the Russians may not have been happy with this and there would have been discussions. I was expecting a replay,” he mentioned.

“I think then the FIDE opted for the other route, declared both as winners. Look these are teething problems. We are starting online chess; 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, aside from 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. Anand additionally mentioned that his efficiency within the tournament was once no longer nice.

“It is nice to write their co-tales as well,” Anand mentioned. “I was able to rely on the team.”

He additionally mentioned it was once a excellent concept to have an internet Olympiad this yr as a substitute of suspending it amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The event was a pleasant surprise…The original decision was to move it to next year and then this good idea, I think, to have an online Olympiad. Any sport still has to function, you can’t postpone it by a year,” he defined.

“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 each and every one in all them clicked 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. I think in future it will be nice for India if you can double the number of boards, for instance 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 once a aware determination by means of him to take a seat out the primary sport of the general, Anand mentioned he had expressed the will to play just one sport.

“Yes, it was. I discussed with N Srinath (vice-captain) that I wanted to play only one game on the final day. Because I strongly felt that we had a good team. I thought we had to use that strength. 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 once mentioned to be broadly adopted on-line with over 60,000 viewing it and there have been a lot of congratulatory messages flowing in afterwards, which Anand mentioned was once a delightful wonder.

“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,” he mentioned.



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