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Hunger still there: Anand

Viswanathan Anand, in the city, on Sunday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand said on Sunday that the hunger was still there in him to regain the World Chess Championship.

“The hunger is still there. Whether I would do that successfully, only time will tell... But I would keep trying. I am optimistic. Certainly, I didn’t lack effort this time. Sometimes, you have to get the formula right,” Anand said.

“I will be very happy to say goodbye to 2013. Also, there are some issues to be solved. I hope 2014 starts on a positive note. You always start a year in a good frame of mind.”

The 44-year-old beaten world champion Anand said he might play at the eight-player Candidates tournament in a bid to challenge Carlsen again.

“I would play in Zurich in the end of January. I have not yet taken a final decision on the Candidates. I would imagine I would play. I’m quite motivated to try again next year,” he said. “First, I will take some rest. Most likely I would play. Broadly speaking, as long as you find challenging events, and you enjoy it, you play. I am also looking forward to play a couple of rapid chess tournaments next year.”

The Candidates tournament, which act as a qualification tournament for the World Championship, will be held in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, from March 11. The winner of the tournament will get a crack at the reigning champion Magnus Carslen of Norway next November. Anand conceded that the loss to Carlsen had shattered him, and he would like to fix some issues before starting again.

“Right now, I’m focussing on getting my career back on track. This year was tough for me. I hope 2014 goes better. I will just take one step at a time. There were many problems affecting me on the chess board. I would have to address that before the match. But it’s clear I’ve run into some problem areas in chess, I need to address that.”

Anand said Carlsen was a tough customer. “He was very difficult. He is the highest-rated player in history. He won comprehensively. I wanted not to lose. If I had to, it would have been nice to go down in a better way. It was a disappointment at many levels.”

Anand changed his winning combination of seconds for the last World Championship, but he said it was not a reason for the loss. Blaming it on the circumstances, Anand said: “Some went on to do other things, some had scheduling problems... Circumstances just took over. I was very happy with my current team.”

Garry Kasparov might have announced his candidacy for Fide president’s elections, but Anand was not amused. “The question is whether you’re good at it or not. It does not seem natural that players become administrators. It’s about whether you can do the job or not. I would assume that players are not necessarily better administrators.”

Asked whether age was catching up with him, the 44-year-old said: “Yes... age has been a factor to put it mildly. There is not much you can do about it. I want to focus on results. With age, you tend to change your approach and try to compensate with your experience.”

He started off brilliantly in the London Classic, but lost in the quarter finals to Vladimir Kramnik. “I was trying a different approach. It was going well in the knock-out stage, but the position fell apart quite fast.”