‘Looking forward to Worlds without any tension’: Anand on role as commentator

The World Chess Championship is scheduled from November 24 to December 16 in Dubai.

Indian chess ace Viswanathan Anand is looking forward to being at a World Championship minus the stress of competition as he prepares to don the commentator’s hat for the upcoming clash between defending champion Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia.

The marquee showdown is scheduled from November 24 to December 16 in Dubai.

“I think it will be fun. I have already experienced it online. I am looking forward to trying it. It will be very nice,” the five-time former world champion, who will be one of the official commentators, told PTI.

As to how the role of commentator came about, the Chennai-based chess ace said, “Not much of a story there…basically the FIDE asked me about being a commentator for the world championship match and I thought why not try it.”

“It will be special. Looking forward to going to a world championship match without the tension of playing. I am a chess fan too and hope it will be a good match,” Anand, who has already donned the role of a commentator for a few online events, added.

“Obviously some memories will come back. I will just go there and see how it is.”

On the match itself, he said Carlsen has been in pretty good form and would be the favourite.

“Carlsen is in pretty good form. He has been reactive. He has been preparing well. He will be the favourite. Nepomniachtchi is strong enough to be a good opponent. I am hoping that it will be an exciting match,” he said.

On the move to make the championship match a 14-game affair from the previous 12-game finale, Anand said it gives the players better chance of a comeback from setbacks

“They will now play three games before a rest day and not two games like before. That can be exhausting. Longer games give both players more chances for a comeback from setbacks,” he felt.

Anand, who will be seen in the role of a mentor for the Indian youngsters at the third Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Blitz tournament starting in Kolkata from November 17, said the event provides a great chance for them (young Indian players) to compete against top players.

Vidit Gujrathi, B Adhiban, Dronavalli Harika and the young brigade including Nihal Sarin, R Praggnanandhaa, Karthikeyan Murali, D Gukesh, Raunak Sadhwani, Arjun Erigaisi and R Vaishali will be participating in the tournament in Kolkata.

He lauded the performance of the young Indian players in the last year or so and said they had done well and improved their ratings.

“Gukesh has had a wonderful rating spike, Raunak (Sadhwani) too has improved his rating. Pragg (Praggnanandhaa) has had some very good results in online tournaments.

“Their progress has been very steady,” Anand said about the young Indian brigade, a few of whom he trains as part of the Westbridge Anand Chess Academy.

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