Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand had a dismal season last year. He made an early exit in the Chess World Cup in Georgia and finished last in the London Chess Classic. However, he ended 2017 on a high by winning the World Rapid Chess Championship and bagging a bronze in the Blitz Championship in Riyadh.

In an interview with the Times of India, Anand termed his achievement as a “marvellous surprise” after “depressing results” in earlier tournaments, which took a toll on his confidence.

“What makes the win more unexpected was that when I went into the third day, I wasn’t leading,” he was quoted as saying. “[Vladimir] Fedoseev was in the lead and there was nothing that pointed at me winning. However, the day ended with me being a champion and the result was a marvellous surprise.”

Getting inspired

Anand said that tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who shared the four Grand Slams in 2017, inspired him to do well and experiment with his game.

“When someone like a Federer does well on court, you feel you can do it too,” he said. “Secondly, players like Federer or Rafael Nadal try to learn new things and they experiment with their style. They are willing to drop weapons that served them well for 10 years and try something else. I have said this many times – to keep your own body interested and to keep your brain motivated you should experiment with yourself. That’s what players like Federer have been successful in doing.”

Upcoming season

With 2017 done and dusted, Anand has turned his focus to increase his ratings and do well in tournaments he will feature in this year. “My ratings have fallen and the aim this year would be to push that up. I am looking forward to try and do well in whichever tournaments I am part of,” said Anand.

Even though he won’t be a part of the Candidates tournament this year, Anand is optimistic of doing well this season. “Being part of a tournament like Candidates is tough and there are many who don’t qualify for it, if you look at it that way. For me, I am looking at doing well in the tournaments which I will be part of and that’s the attitude I have,” said Anand.