Kolkata, June 4 (IANS) Notwithstanding five World Chess Championship triumphs, Grand Master Viswanathan Anand continues to be flexibile and is still eager to learn, says a member of his team in the recent successful battle for the crown.
Grand Master Surya Sekhar Ganguly, the only Indian in Anand's quartet of seconds since 2008, also marvelled at the genius' calm and cool approach which complement his natural talent, dedication and discipline.
"He is ready to play a new move, always eager to learn. He really enjoys and loves the game," Ganguly told IANS in an interview.
"Added to these, his exemplary dedication, discipline and natural talent make him a cut above the other great players of this era," the city-based player said, a day after returning home from Moscow where he assisted Anand prevail over Israeli Boris Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in a thrilling tie-break.
Other than Ganguly, Peter Heine-Nielsen of Denmark, Polish GM Radoslav Wojtasek and former World champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan constitute Anand's team. They have been with him since 2008 when Anand became the champion for the third time, beating Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. Two years later, they helped him get the better of Bulgarian Veselin Topalov in the World championship contest.
"We have excellent teamwork, we are almost like a family," said the 28-year-old Ganguly, who had created a sensation at the age of 11 by becoming the youngest player to beat a grandmaster.
"Overall, there was a lot of pressure. All through the night we worked. A day before Anand had his games against Gelfand, we would work from morning to night, taking small breaks for lunch and dinner."
As Anand would rest after a game, the seconds would get down to analysing his and Gelfand's game, trying to find loopholes in the Israeli's defence to zero in on a move that could be the killer.
"Daily we decided the strategy, trying to detect flaws in Gelfand's preparations. It was non-stop work," said Ganguly, who became an international master at the age of 16 and a grandmaster at 19.
"And in chess, the entire thing is a tough process. For every new move, we have to anlayse 50,000-100,000 moves that could follow or the opponent could play."
Ganguly rated Anand's defeat in the seventh game of the classical format that preceded the tie-breaker as the toughest moment.
"It was very tough throughout the championship, more so when Anand lost. It's good that he immediately came back by winning the next game."
The two players finished 6-6 in the 12-game classical contest, and things moved to the tie-break, where Anand won the second game to clinch it 2.5-1.5.
"Gelfand played really well. He played the games on lines which he had never attempted before. His game always had the surprise element. It was only when Anand won the second game of the tie-break that we started thinking he will scrape through."
What did Ganguly gain from his close involvement in the battle? "I learnt a lot -- new moves, Anand's attitude, and strategies I can now use in my game."
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