| Viswanathan Anand passes on tips to the Telegraph Schools’ Chess Championship-winning St James’ team members (from left) Soumya Thakurta, Debayan Majumdar and Varun Jain in the city on Thursday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: It could be the mother of all moves — from the 64-square black-and-white checkered board to behind the cameras.
Chess superstar Viswanathan Anand has received an offer from Vidhu Vinod Chopra to assist him in a Hollywood production in the near future. The Bollywood director, who has a number of hits to his name, is exploring newer avenues.
According to Anand’s agent Kuruvilla Abraham, Chopra has in mind a mystery film with chess as the central theme.
Anand himself couldn’t be contacted for a comment, but wife Aruna confirmed that the film will, indeed, be a Hollywood production. “They want him (Anand) to work on the technical aspects of a thriller based on chess,” Aruna said.
“Vishy hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll work on the film or not. We’ll take the final decision after seeing his playing schedule next year,” she added.
Anand is scheduled to play tournaments in Holland, Linares, Monaco and Copenhagen early next season.
Anand was in the city Thursday as part of a computer literacy programme organised by the NIIT. “This is the golden age of Indian chess with so many quality players coming up,” he remarked while interacting with newsmen.
He feels Sasikiran is the best of the new crop which has come up in the recent past. “He beat me once in Hyderabad, and if groomed properly, can go places,” he said.
He also spoke very highly of India’s newest GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly. “Surya is a talented player and should be able to make an impact,” Anand opined.
Anand went on to add that he had quite an enthralling session working with the likes of Surya and Sandipan Chanda before the World Cup. “Basically, it was not a coaching session. We chalked out strategies together,” he said.
When asked whether these players need a second to work with them, Anand said: “It was very helpful for me. But it’s entirely the decision of the player concerned.”
The maestro added he would look forward to such sessions in the future.
He also defended his decision not to play in the Olympiad recently. “I feel the Swiss format, in which the tournament is played is not a fair system. It doesn’t give the player a proper chance to come back,” he said.
Asked about his goals, the GM said, “I want to push my rating upto 2800. That’s the magic mark and I’m working hard on that.”
He refused to admit he has a mental block while playing against Garri Kasparov. “True, I have lost to him quite a few times, but there’s nothing of block. I think I’ve done fairly well against him in the recent past.”