Anand gears up for battle with Kramnik

Viswanathan Anand says his upcoming World Championship match against Russia's Vladimir Kramnik would be a battle of nerves.

updated: October 09, 2008 17:40 IST
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New Delhi:

Viswanathan Anand says his upcoming World Championship match against Russia's Vladimir Kramnik would be a battle of nerves because his opponent is as well prepared as he is for the showpiece event.

Anand, who is giving undivided attention to his match preparation since April, will defend his World Champion title against Kramnik in Bonn, Germany from October 11.

"Well, it's a challenge you have to enjoy it and give it your best. I have prepared well. I guess there is no better way to answer this question," Anand said from Madrid, Spain.

"I have done both, a physical regimen as well as extensive work. Since it's a 12-game match keeping the nerves till the end will be very important. Stamina and mental fitness will also be something I will be working on," he said.

Anand said he also took care to relax during tournaments.

"I generally try and relax during tournaments also by watching movies, going to the gym or just taking a long walk. Now I'm just getting ready for the match," he said.

The 38-year-old Indian ace, who slipped out of the FIDE's top-3 after more than a decade in the latest rankings earlier this month, was not unduly bothered about the dip and said he was focusing on match preparation than anything else.

"If you see, on January 1 both Kramnik and myself were number one in the world. We can then see that we have spent the rest of the year just training for each other," said Anand, who slid to the fifth spot.

Having said that, Anand insisted he did not repent playing in the Chess Masters Final in Bilbao, which cost him precious rating points and the top ranking.

"In Linares, I was able to play well and win and in Wijk (Aan Zee - Corus Championships) make a very strong comeback to get the third place. But since April the focus has clearly been the (World Championship) match.

"When I went to Bilbao I was quite clear that I wouldn't be in the best of form as I have not really been working on my immediate rivals but rather on one person. So I don't repent having played there," he said.

Anand agreed Kramnik was more comfortable in match-plays than the tournament but predicted that the matches would be well fought and hold public interest.

"He (Kramnik) is a very classical player and has a very deep understanding of chess. He feels very comfortable in matches.

"Since we do a lot of work and especially now a days with computers, both of us will have an extensive analysis. I expect the games to be well fought and hopefully interesting for the public.

"We have been rivals for a long time but it's different when you play a match. In a tournament he is one among 13 players. In a match he is the only guy who you are thinking of," Anand said.

But the Madrid-based player said he would not get obsessed with the match.

"In Mexico, my attitude was not to get obsessed with the championship. Similarly here I will try to be myself before anything else. You can't work out everything at home. In the end be it a match or a tournament its a game of chess and you have to just enjoy it," he said.

"In a match you tend to start looking at just one person. His games, his actions etc... It's an important challenge and I hope to do well. We will both be well prepared," he added.

Asked who was he preparing with, Anand held his cards close to his chest so as not to give any insight into his preparation.

"I'm quite happy with the way the team has come together. At this point can't really tell who is in my team but surely you will know soon...," he said.