India’s first-ever grandmaster is willing to be flexible and adapt to certain changes in order to make playing the game possible during the pandemic.
Viswanathan Anand believes that tackling the COVID-19 crisis is like playing chess against a computer, as the opposition could be deemed to be emotionless in both the cases. In a discussion with chess grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Anand pondered more upon this analogy as he mentioned, “In an over-the-board game, you can feel your rival is under pressure when you play a good move, but that doesn’t happen when facing a computer. It just keeps playing its game.”
He quipped that similarly wearing masks and avoiding contacts could not be a full-proof method to immune oneself from the virus. “The challenge remains the same and you can get infected on the sixth or seventh day, as the virus refuses to go back,” the 50-year-old stated.
Anand even reflected on the impact and alterations that this pandemic has made in chess. He is open to allow for experiments to make the game more flexible in such times. For example, the veteran sportsperson advocated for having a hybrid arrangement wherein they could arrange for both online and offline versions of chess. He opined, “There can be occasions when some rounds of the game are not being completed. Now we can think about finishing them online.”
It appears that Anand is comfortable with competing chess matches online. After all, many sports have come to a standstill due to the ongoing situation. However, chess is one of the rare games that can continue to be played even through these testing times. Hence, Anand does not refrain from propounding his thoughts on adapting to the scenario and ensuring that chess is continued being played.
“See, chess was playable online for decades, but this situation has forced us to focus more on it,” he remarked. The Padma Vibhushan recipient added that he is happy that such a circumstance did not arise a decade ago or so. He is of a firm view that the influx of more accessories and gadgets has made the fraternity more prepared to play chess online.