Anand rules out any plans of retirement

Chennai: At 42, Viswanathan Anand is the second oldest of the top ten FIDE ranked players in the world, but the reigning world chess champion on Sunday ruled out any plans of retiring.

Anand, who won the world championship five times including the latest against Boris Gelfand in Moscow in May this year, says “there is definitely no thought of retirement”. “In fact, it is quite the opposite”, he told PTI in an interview here, clearly indicating that he intends to defend his title in 2014.

Although Anand is the reigning world champion, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, who is half his age at 21, tops the current world ratings given by FIDE, the world chess federation which keeps changing the ratings based on tournament play.

Ruling out retirement, Anand asked “how can I quit”. In a career spanning over two decades, Anand has squared off and beaten many a tough opponents but the Indian chess legend considers Israeli Boris Gelfand as the toughest of them all for his discipline.

Anand beat Gelfand to clinch his fifth world title earlier this year in a match that went into tie-break after both the players finished 6-6 in the regular games. Anand turned Grandmaster in 1988 and asked about the secret of his longevity that too at the top, the affable chess wizard said the desire to keep learning keeps him going.

“First of all if it is a secret, I would simply say that it is keep playing the game of Chess. I keep forcing, I keep learning new things in the game and so far I have been taking challenges as they come,” he said.

On his fitness, Anand said though his eating habits are not too strict, he does make it a point to go to the gym regularly.

“As far as food habits are concerned, I would say that it depends on where you are and you have to eat what is available. So, it is not possible to be very strict. I would not say that I have very special food habits,” he said.

Five world titles and six Chess Oscars under his belt but Anand doesn’t mind the perceived lack of hype around his mammoth achievements.  Talking about the Indian chess scenario, Anand said the young crop holds out a lot of promise for the future.

After spending a good part of his life in Spain, Anand has shifted back to his home city Chennai and the veteran said he does miss Europe at times.

“Of course, we miss Spain. Spain has been a big part of our life. But, we are also very happy coming back to India and it is nice to be with parents, grandparents and so on. It is not too bad. I get to go to Spain often enough. At least twice a year for tournaments and I still get to keep in touch with a lot,” he said.

On whether he would chronicle his life and career in a book in the times to come, Anand said, “There is something in the work. But, I do not want to elaborate on that.”