Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, who has opted for a lighter 2020 season, said giving up is not yet an option for him despite recent hiccups. Anand will skip four to five tournaments this year including the Grand Chess Tour.
He could not qualify for the Candidates 2020 and had a below-par outing at the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk aan Zee last month, finishing joint sixth spot with Anish Giri, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Alireza Firouzja.
“The thoughts of giving-up comes up but at least this year, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m looking forward to playing the events that I have,” Anand was quoted as saying by PTI.
“I don’t think about it a lot. The qualification cycle is very unpredictable so, I always figure if I qualify for something then I’ll worry about it but there’s no point thinking about it you know two stages earlier.”
Anand, who has slipped to 15th in the world rankings, said he does not have any regrets on missing out on the world championship bid.
“No, why should I [have regrets]? No, not at all,” he said. “If there was one, it was last year for a brief period but it was already clear in October that I wasn’t challenging, and that’s it. I have accepted that and moved on.”
He added: “If I do it, it’s it’s fine. But I have already won the title five times. So why should I be disappointed?”
Anand wants to spend time with his family and skip the qualification events and the Grand Chess Tour.
He said: “This year it looks like it’ll be a much lighter one. I will not play the GCT events I will not play about four or five events less than last year to start off and then there is already the qualification events. I will not play something like Isle of Man and so on. So it’s a much lighter year.”
“I decided that’s nice. There are many years I wish I was playing less and so this year, you know, let’s take advantage of it. Even if you’re playing few tournaments, you still want to do well. So I’ll try to train a lot and get ready for them.”
After Anand, there is only Vidit Gujrathi and P Harikrishna inside the 2700-mark but the chess ace insists that the future of Indian chess is bright with the likes of Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, Gukesh D and Raunak Sadhwani, all under the age of 15.
“If you look at our current crop of youngsters, I think we have a very good future. They [Nihal, Prag, Gukesh and Sadhwani] are all under 15. That means also they’ve got a lot of time to fulfil their potential and I’m hopeful they will.”
He added, “What is really happening is that the chess world is very competitive nowadays. So a lot of people fighting for every qualification sport, every tournament and as a result, it’s very hard. Hari Krishna came up to the top-20 and he’s still doing well. Vidit a bit further behind, but still a 2700 player.”