Career spans of chess players getting shorter, says Anand

Anand attributes it to high level of hard work arising out of intense competition.

Five-time World chess champion Viswanathan Anand on Monday said that the career span of chess players has become shorter than earlier times because of the high level of hard work arising out of intense competition.

“The physicality of your life is coming into the sport. The level of physical tension and physical level is much higher now.

“So nowadays, it is fitness, fitness and fitness,” Anand said on ‘DRS With Ash’, a show by India cricketer R. Ashwin on Youtube.

“This hard work is very energy intense and therefore, career spans are shortening. This is unquestionable,” he added.

Asked about playing against younger players, Anand said he would try to bring unfamiliar situations to them by using his vast experience.

“Younger players, you could drop them in any situation and they would just calculate better. And how these two strategies clashed? Computers changed that, because it has shortened the time, you need to have experience,” he said.

Fischer’s influence

Anand said the legendary Bobby Fischer was one of the reasons many began to look chess as a career.

“In the 1970s and 80s, probably like many sports, chess was just starting to become like a career. The biggest reason was Bobby Fischer.

“It was already a career for people in Soviet Union or the East Block, but that concept didn’t exist anywhere else.

“But after Fischer, those doors started to open for everybody,” said Anand.

Anand recalled that in India of the 1970s and 80s, chess was not a career option.

Asked if chess players are super intelligent, Anand said, “Chess players are fairly intelligent. You can see these players, even if they quit chess and go and do something else also, they do it quite well.”

He also said playing chess helps a person in other ways, like improving memory and concentration.

Renowned for his fast style of play, Anand said he was the world’s best rapid player till he was about 40 before the new generation took over.

“The generation after that is quite hard to compete with. I’ve had one or two glorious moments like the World Rapid Championship in 2017 which I won. When I won that nobody could expect it and least of all, I didn’t expect it!”

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