EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

My Consistency Put Pressure On Svidler: Anand

During a busy tournament schedule at Haifa, Israel, Viswanathan
Anand spoke in an exclusive interview to Chess Mate's website
www.chess-mate.com He answered all questions in detail. This chat
took place at the Haifa International Convention Centre during
the rounds on the second day. The last question was added after
his title on day three.

Q: You won almost all events in 1997 and 1998. What can we expect
in 2000?

A: I don't prefer to go on these lines. Obviously 1997-98, these
were good years for me but I didn't expect them to be so. I just
played and it went very well.

So far (meaning this year) it has been tough going. Wijk aan Zee
was a good result at the end of the day. Though I must say I was
not very happy with my chess. Could be better, rather more
fluent. I was feeling I was making lot of mistakes. But, okay it
is still early to say. I hope it will be a successful year. But I
have this feeling that I have to work really hard for it.

Q: You said you are keeping match preparations aside. What
precautions do you normally have to take to keep them?

A: Not too many. In fact use your match preparation as long as
the opponent does not know this is the stuff you prepared for the
match. The worst thing is to use your match preparation when it
is obvious that it was your match preparation. As long as it
keeps everybody guessing it does not matter. In general there is
no point in holding on to your match preparations. Usually you
might have one or two sensational ideas. Of course you will hold
on to them. A lot of match preparation is cleaning up little
details and a few variations here and there. You shouldn't keep
them, if somebody uses it, then you only missed a chance.
Many opening systems depend on certain variations. If that
variation works you can continue playing it. If it doesn't get a
solution. It doesn't make sense to lose a game to protect your
preparation. Preparation is not a factor. If a match happens I
can prepare myself again.

Q: How much of chess do you need to enjoy to play a good
tournament?

A: For someone like Svidler you can see that in this tournament
(Wydra Rapid, Haifa) he was really enjoying himself. Also, there
are certain tournaments where you can't explain it. Everything
just comes easily to you. You play good moves without too much
effort. In other tournaments you are working very hard and
prepared and somehow the moves don't come easily. The ideal way
is to find and get into a state where the moves come very
naturally and easily.

For instance here, I had this feeling much more in the last two
games rather than in the earlier games. Against Gelfand I felt
really free and I played well. Yesterday for some reason it was
still tough going. This is not a state you can strive for. Some
years it happens and I had this feeling in 1998. Things went very
smoothly. Of course in 1999 it didn't really come easily. Of
course I don't want to say that everything is just luck.

Q: A lot of experiments have gone into testing players for
doping. What is your view? Should we adopt a milder view like the
Dutch or fall in line with Olympic regulations?

A: I am not thrilled by this whole thing. So far I do not know I
will play in any tournaments where drug testing will be held. So
that is already good news. If we get into the Olympic Games I can
atleast see why we got to go through drug tests. We are not in
the games yet, it seems to me that there is something rather
unpleasant. At the beginning I thought it is acceptable. If you
get into the Olympic Games that's great. As I understand the
Olympic games is still a decision which will have to be taken. We
are only in the Olympic movement as I understand it. Then we have
to go through the testing anyway. Until then, I think it is silly
to have it in chess and I don't know any chess player who is
taking any drug. The IOC has to follow the rules and in this case
I don't see why it is necessary at all. I for instance will avoid
some tournaments where testing is done.

Q: Now that the Olympiad is fixed for Istanbul later this year,
will you consider playing if the Government or the Chess
Federation match your starting fee. Also, the Indians without a
single grandmaster were quite impressive at Shenyang in China
last October 1999?

A: Well in general I will consider it of course. If my match with
Kasparov comes back - nothing has changed fundamentally but he is
still looking - then I will not be available for the Olympiad.
Also, my schedule is not that clear right now. Definitely I will
think about it seriouslly. Another problem is, already my rating
has gone down a bit and this will put some pressure on my rating.
Perhaps I don't need it.

Q: Will the multi-million dollar investment going into Kasparov's
website be detrimental to the other websites which are doing a
good job thus far. Aren't people behind him taking a big risk for
the short-lived interest he had had for example in GMA, PCA, WCC
and so on.

A: Well it is possible. In general if he changes his mind about
the website then the website people are sunk! I assume they have
their contracts secure.

I don't see why it should be so much of a threat to the other
websites. Of course they will bring lots of resources. But I have
the feeling that other sites like TWIC are nice and they can be
made little more topical very easily. Especially for websites, a
little effort from volunteers compensates many professionals. I
don't see what they achieved having five people (staff) here.
Interviewing chess players after every move does not offer much
to chess players. I think it is much more interesting to get an
interview with the players on video. Obviously they are
developing it. In three years if the other websites do not try to
compete they will have problems for sure. So far chess websites
have not been a big source of money. I don't think TWIC makes a
lot of money by selling their games. I don't see where Kasparov
is hoping to make his money. So far everything is done free. Wait
and see.

As you can see technology used to display games in this
tournament is rather old-fashioned.

Q: When will you make your venture in the Internet?

A: I don't know. I already collaborated with a lot of websites.
So far I see myself as primarily a player. If I do something, it
may be an academy. As far as the website I will see how it goes.
I dont want my website up and running to offer: Kramnik said
19.g5 was not good and Anand said 22.f7 pawn was weak etc. This
is not something inspiring to think of. Having an academy and
helping a few kids is what I will get motivated to do.

Q: Will the inclusion of Khalifman in place of Topalov make any
change in Linares 2000?

A: Mainly the opening ceremony will be interesting. They have to
call both of them (Khalifman and Kasparov) world champions and
that will be fun. Khalif is a strong player and there is no
question about it. Okay, in Elo sense he is the weakest of the
six. On a good day he can beat anyone in the tournament. You have
to take him quite seriously.

Q: Will Khalifman's games against Kasparov get the same
importance as Kasparov-Karpov games of the past when they were
world champions?

A: I think there will be some animosity between them. Primarily
because Mr Kasparov will take it quite personally. I don't see
Khalif reacting much. I think he understands that Las Vegas was a
great result and he is a strong grandmaster. He also acknowledges
that Kasparov is the best player in the world. I think Kasparov
will feel the pressure more. He will try to make some point to
FIDE.

Q: Do you see your success in Haifa as a reward for your
consistency in scoring with white or a failure of Peter Svidler
in the last day under pressure?

A: I think my consistency put pressure on Svidler because he
couldn't coast easily but obviously his collapse the last day
helped me win the tournament.