Anand shines at Mallorca

The new-look Indian men's team is creating a flutter at the 36th Chess Olympiad.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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The new-look Indian men's team is creating a flutter at the 36th Chess Olympiad, and the man who is making all the difference is Viswanathan Anand, who is participating in the Olympiad after 12 years. Although Anand had been persistently pursued to take part in the previous Olympiads, it was always a polite 'no' from the stalwart who maintained he did not quite agree with the format of the event. The All India Chess Federation had earlier named him the team captain for the 35th Olympiad at Bled in Slovenia in 2002, but then again Anand had refused. Now speculation is rife about the change of mind on the part of the champion this time around. Change of mind The venue of the tournament being Spain, where Anand currently lives, is said to be a reason behind his decision to participate. But the presence of a strong team to back him also seems to have forced Anand to have a change of mind. The team at Mallorca is one of the best teams India could have ever boasted of. With the likes of Krishnan Sasikiran, P Harikrishna, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Abhijit Kunte and Sandipan Chanda to back him, Anand is on a roll at Gran Casino. "It is great to have him around, you know when your top board is secured, you can try for something on other boards," says Harikrishna, who feels Anand has given the much needed boost to the team by playing here. "The other day he beat Alejandro Ramirez, the Costa Rican, and made it look so simple, that's the kind of victory that makes a great difference to the team in the Olympiad," adds Harikrishna. Series of win So far, out of the four games he has played, Anand has had two victories with white and two draws with black, an outcome often called a perfect result in Chess. With yesterday being a rest day, the action will resume tonight. Sometime back, Moldovan Grandmaster Viktor Bolgan had written that "With white Anand is a tiger after your blood, while with black he is just content with draws." And achieving this is not easy by any standard, feels Ganguly, the highest scorer for India in the Olympiad so far. "Achieving this is not easy always and this is what has propelled Anand amongst the best in the world today," he says. It remains to be seen whether the Indians win a medal or not, but surely they have done wonders till now and with the inspiring presence of Anand one can only hope for things to become better. (PTI)