PRIZE FOR THE PERFECT PLAN 

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By BY DIBYENDU BARUA
  • Published 25.12.00
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Teheran, Dec. 25 :    Teheran, Dec. 25:  The world of chess has finally got its legitimate champion. Ever since Garri Kasparov broke away from FIDE, the supreme body, the world chess title lacked glamour. FIDE, in a way, must be relieved now that Anand has won the coveted crown. Anand, who has been consistently maintaining his No. 2 position in the world with his ELO rating, is a far better candidate than last year's champion Alexander Khalifman, whom even the staunch supporters of FIDE refused to recognise as the best player in the world. Despite the absence of the three Super K's of chess -Kasparov, Kramnik and Karpov - this year's World Championship gained weight mainly due to the presence of Anand. Anand and Kasparov are the only players in the world, who at present, can add respectability to a tournament by their participation. Ever since Anand won the world junior title in 1987, Indians have been waiting eagerly to see an Indian emerge world chess champion in the land of the game's origin. It turned out to be quite a long wait. In 1995 and 1998, he went close but the dream was not eventually fulfilled. Anand, who was clearly the favourite this time, was well prepared. He played with a definite plan, going for wins with white and drawing with the black pieces. Like a well-written script, this strategy clicked. Anand drew only two games with white, against Khalifman in the quarter final and then against Michael Adams in the semi-final. The only player to stretch him was Khalifman who took the match to the tie-breaker. It was a tense moment for us, but Anand hardly looked vulnerable for he is at ease in rapid games. Both finalists in Tehran were deserving. Shirov, who is known as a fighter, has a tendency to take unnecessary risks. After his loss in the second game, he did burn his bridge in the third and fourth games, trying to come back into the match. Anand kept his cool and defended brilliantly, thwarting all attempts by Shirov to break down his defence. Any other player would have tried to draw with black pieces against Anand, in the fourth game, and try his luck with white in the next. Anand's win has catapulted chess to new heights in the world of sports. Not only it is an example for Indian youngsters to emulate, it should also give the All India Chess Federation a lot of inspiration to take the game to the masses. Already, sponsors are finding chess a rewarding venture and Anand's victory should bring in new entrants in this field. We have already won a number of world age-group titles. The only requirement of the day is to groom these players in a professional manner. If that happens, I firmly believe that India will become a chess super power in the next decade.