Calcutta: Experts of the game had more or less written Viswanathan Anand off, following his defeat to Magnus Carlsen at the World Championship final, in Chennai, last year. Saturday’s triumph in the Candidates meet, though, showed five-time world champion is far from being over.
After settling for a draw with Russian Sergey Karjakin in the 13th and penultimate round, in Khanty Mansyisk, on Saturday, Anand proved he’s ready to chase the top spot when his battle with Karlsen renews later in the year.
Age could be a factor, but for legends like Anand, it’s more or less a three-letter word, feels Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly, who had been one of Anand’s seconds in his World Championship matches in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
“Yes, Carlsen will be the favourite when Anand meets him again at the World Championship final. But I don’t think age will be a factor there. If it was, then how did Anand win the Candidates?
“He had to face opponents in Levon Aronian, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Karjakin, who are all quite younger to him. It only shows age has nothing much to do when your quality has fallen. You just can’t write Anand off,” Surya Sekhar told The Telegraph.
He came down heavily upon those experts who asked Anand to quit after his loss to Carlsen. “These people first need to have a look at themselves and their rankings first. Legends know when they should call it quits. They don’t need to be preached.
“So, I think it should be left to Anand to take a call on his career. He’s the best to decide for himself. After all, he’s made an unbelievable comeback. Let him savour the moment now.”
“There simply cannot be any question about his performance and abilities. I don't think I have seen such a remarkable comeback in recent times.
“He has played well in each and every game, without losing any of them. It's not easy to carry on with the same flow in a tournament like Candidates, where all your opponents will be tough ones. Hat’s off to Anand,” Surya Sekhar added.
Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua hails Anand’s triumph as “miraculous”. “Honestly, not many of us had expected him to win the Candidates.
“So, in that sense, it’s a terrific achievement and a miraculous one as well. Anand needed it for himself and also for chess in India.
“At present, it’s a bit too early to predict about his contest against Carlsen. But I do have a feeling that he’ll put up a better fight since he has played consistently well at the Candidates,” Dibyendu emphasised.
“And if you talk of age, yes, it’s a factor. But not that it will spell the end of one career, especially that of a legend in Anand. Anand has proved so with his achievement today. It’s there for all to see,” Dibyendu added.