Reports | May 14, 2010 16:14

"I honestly thought he had gone nuts" - interview with the World Champion

Interview with the World ChampionOn Tuesday, World Champion Viswanathan Anand from India retained his title by defeating Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria 6.5-5.5, thereby also creating an all-time record of unique visitors on one day at this website. A day later he sat down for a lengthy interview with ChessVibes - enjoy a 28.5 (!) minute video interview with the World Champ.

"I honestly thought he had gone nuts", Viswanathan Anand told us about the mistake by his opponent Veselin Topalov in the decisive game of the World Championship. "Either he had missed Qe8, or I had missed something." We spoke with Anand about all games, about the Sofia rule, about playing slow ("I never thought anyone would advise me to play faster"), his favourite curry, about which historical world champion he'd like to play, and several other things. In other words: a mixture of my questions and questions from the ChessVibes readers. Enjoy!

All videos from Sofia

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Vesco's picture


herb white's picture


Bart's picture


Vesco's picture

Who´s third? xD

raj's picture

Nice ! Thank you

Vesco's picture

Raj is third :). Who´s fourth?

Tom's picture

How many unique visitors, out of curiousity?

Vhomas Topalov's picture

hello third!
Pleased to listen that as I said before, Anand pointed out that he started play faster
in the ending of game ten, of course not for any strategical or psychological reason,
but just because he was angry! eheh

Jo's picture

For you guys : he gave serious thoughts and spoke sincerely - all kudos to him and also to you Was great to hear you ask our questions ..almost made me feel I was a part of this... today you were rewarded for your general chess reporting for the last year and I think many of our locals are very proud of you. to me you are the best on the web and thankyou for involving us .

alegs1's picture

awesome work : great game vishy

suneet's picture

brilliant job guys!
Anand is always honest and charming in his interviews!

NBC's picture

Anand is wearing a tie!

Radical Caveman's picture

Great interview. One question we forgot to ask him: what was Topalov saying during that very animated exchange immediately after resigning the last game? Has Anand commented on that anywhere? Topalov's gestures were quite vehement...of course, he must have been extremely upset.

John's picture

I am curious to know what was Anand's favorite song that was played during the closing ceremony.

John's picture

The videos are difficult to watch or download with low speed internet connection like the one I have, hence I would be glad if the transcripts of the interview is also published.

Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn's picture

Dear Mr Peter Doggers!
Thank you very much for your tremendous efforts in letting us participate in this very titanic WCC match 2010; you should let us pay a little bit - I tried it twice - but you´ve refused my money! :-) :-) :-) WHY???
Best regards,
Dr. W.J. Berghorn, FRG

robert's picture

Great interview! I am happy for Mr. Anand he deserves it.

Pierre's picture

Nice interview.

Next time please try to have a chess board linked, so that some of us can understand what variations he is refering to.

Plus, you must stop saying after each question "right right". Your voice must be a little more energetic, It's very monotonous!

Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn's picture

Until this extremely authentic interview with Vishy Anand - I´ve seen today - I all the time since 1970 thought - Bobby Fischer is the greatest chess player of all time - I have changed my mind: WC Champion VISHY ANAND will be for a long long time "NUMBER ONE" in the history of chess and WCC matches - as a HUMAN BEING - as a MAN - as CHESS PLAYER - as GENTLEMAN!!!

ron's picture

I have slight problems understanding Anand, he has a quite heavy accent, is that me or do you experience the same?

Pierre's picture

blablabla, just wait for Carlsen, he will take the crown from Vishy and he will impose himself as number one for a very long time. Vishy is getting old, as Kasparov said.
I'd say these are Vishy's last 2-3 years on the top.

Krish's picture

Hi Peter,
Thank you very much for the interview and the coverage during the complete match. This final touch of asking the world champion also the chess vibes users questions made us very happy and feel connected to chessvibes.

Keep continuing the good work.

RamRanjan's picture

Dear Mr Peter Doggers!

I would be glad if the transcripts of the interview.

abhishek's picture

Hey Peter,

Thanks a lot for the great were really great and actually asked almost every question that the readers had raised ....thanks a lot...

in a way we felt that somehow we are asking the questions...

keep up the great work man... thanks again

forest's picture

@Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn, I just tried and donated via the donate button on top right corner and it worked? What is the issue you experienced?

KingTal's picture

Very nice and interesting interview but more readers questions would be better, hehehe. But still very good idea of putting readers questions not many does so.
Keep on the good work. :)

noyb's picture

Wow, outstanding interview! Probably my most favorite WC interview ever. It is amazing how Anand thinks in such a clear and composed manner. I think he'll have to now be considered one of the more serious WC's. Maybe not top five, but certainly better than say Euwe, Steinitz and Kramnik. Perhaps on par with Petrosian, Spassky and Smyslov at this point?

Mr X's picture

Great stuff! Thanks!

Hairulov's picture

The trivia question who the last world champion won the final match after losing the first game? the answer u give is - Chigorin.

Hey about Fischer-Spassky 1972?

ghj's picture

can someone transform this video interview in text form in english or german?

i cant follow understand good the video.

BSN's picture

An interview really well done, Peter. Terrific job you've done covering the championship.

Just a little thought for future interviews - there were some times when you seemed to pose a question even as Anand was thinking about saying something more...perhaps you could just wait for a while longer before asking a follow-up and edit out the blanks later if the interviewee doesn't say anything more.

ron's picture

Chigorin world champion???

Zeblakob's picture

Hairulov ;
let us assume that Spassky-Fischer 1st game was "technically" a draw even after the Bishop sac Bxh3 as proved later.

Lyndon's picture

Yep! +2 Fischer - Spassky...1972

Jarvis's picture

Fischer was not world champion when he lost that game.

Sergio's picture

Great interview Peter.

I also thought the awnser on that question was Fisher, could you explain us why it wasn't the awnser?

KingTal's picture

1972 Spassy was the world champion and Fischer was the challenger...

Mark De Smedt's picture

Beautiful interview and coverage of this match, Peter !
I liked the music you put to the 12th game.

This interview has a nice balance between chess contents (with a brief discussion of each and every game !!) and various questions, many of them suggested on this website. It's touching first to witness an impressive performance (yet another !) by Anand, and then to hear him admit how difficult it really was. His charm, sincerity and modesty make him a true ambassador of chess :-)

Pierre, of course it would be nice to watch variations unfold in a parallel image while Anand explains them, so maybe you could volunteer to arrange that for Chessvibes ;-)

As it is, I'm quite thankful for Peter's efforts, and if you really want to know what moves Anand is talking about, try this (it worked for me): each time Anand starts citing moves or variations, click on "pause", open the Chessvibes viewer/analysis of that game in a separate window and go over the crucial parts of that game again, before hitting "play" (you can rewind the interview a little by dragging the progression indicator to the left). It takes a little effort, but hey, who wants to learn anything from a chess comment by the world champion without putting his brain to work ?

The ideal situation would be to discuss GM games with a teacher or a stronger player than oneself. But even if you only have access to the moves (and maybe some brief comments by a master or grandmaster), analyzing GM games can be quite rewarding once you reach a certain level (I'd say about 2000, though chess teachers may prove me wrong).

As for Anand's accent, Ron, it's typical of the Indian spoken variety of English. It just takes getting used to (just like American, British, Australian or South African English, to cite some other major varieties). I actually have a little more trouble understanding Peter's English than Vishy's, because Peter doesn't always articulate very clearly (but he has many other qualities :-) )

rajeshv's picture

Great interview!! This one was so refreshingly different in the sense that it was so relaxed yet covered lot of things about the match. Kudos to Peter for all the wonderful videos that he provides which stand out for their quality. Getting questions from website visitors answered was a nice touch! Thank you!!

Suneet's picture

@ Dr. Wolfgang Berghorn

I second you. this is what I wrote about Anand in my chessbase article...

A World Champion must belong to the world and Anand does. Far away from controversies and ego, this cheerful, approachable and popular Champion has done more good to chess than most of his predecessors. Let it be India, Africa, Europe or America, he has helped popularize chess and found loving fans everywhere. The number of charitable and chess promotion events he attends is unprecedented. Most importantly he brings healing power of his charming grace to a sport historically marred by selfish egos.

Having met him and played with him... It was a humbling experience to see a champion so down to earth. He is totally amazing and the way he smiles at his fans shows his clean heart. Trust me, ts not about being Indian or not... I admire Rafa more than any Indian tennis player ;) etc...

@Thanks to chessvibes for valuing their visitors so much and including their questions in the interview. Its really cool!

Larry's picture

Awesome video. This match and Anand's honesty in all his post-match videos will win legions of fans for this terrific champion. All hall the Champ....he is a class act and a great competitor.

srk's picture

Reflections of both Anand and Topalov. NY Times:

Septimus's picture

Guys, is there a transcript for this? I am deaf.

Tony's picture

There is a saying that your not really the world champion until you have defended your title at least once,... Congradulations World Champion Anand! Your spot in the record books is now assured.

Conqueror of Anand's picture

I had the honor of handing Anand his very first defeat in his chess career - in the 4th round of the TNEB (Tamil Nadu Electricity Board)!! We were both on 3/3. I played 1.e4 and the Guico-Piano. He was an 8-yr old boy with lovely, sharp eyes. He just blitzed his moves out in no time. I managed to beat him, but I had a vague feeling that this boy was something special. 3 years later, after he had come back from Phillipines, we met again at the Bertram tournament hosted by Loyola College. This time he beat me playing an exchange sac in Caro-Kann. He later told me that the sac wasn't really good objectively, but it worked because it rattled me into playing badly. He really honed his skills at the Tal Chess club, and it is interesting to know from this interview that Tal was his idol.

It was also interesting to note that he likes eating chicken tikka - I assumed that he would be a pure vegetarian!

I couldn't agree more with Suneet that it would be a near impossibility to find a champion as grounded as Anand is. It seems like he is so comfortable being in the present rather dwelling upon the past or the future. What a champion, and more importantly, what a human being!

32fxe4's picture

He didnt ask any of my questions :(

senthil's picture

Thanks Peter for the excellent interview.

Anand'd honesty and integrity come through very clearly. He is at the pinnacle of his sport and yet there is no attitude that comes through. Amazing.

Hats of to him and to ChessVibes for making this happen.

sdd's picture

These exactly 12 games World Championships don't make sense. There's an extreme horizon problem (just like in the chess engines). What if the WC were 11 or 13 games (or just 1)? The result would be totally different. The WC should go on until one of the players gets a clear edge, for example 3 points lead. Otherwise there is absolutely no reason to believe that Anand is better that Topalov or the WC result is just a quirk of fate.

madevva's picture

Exellent bit of information through your i nterview but it is already there in other video/ interview.

It would have been better if you had covered other areas which other interviews had not covered.

adam's picture

I would like to express my sincerest thanks to the ChessVibes crew for keeping up their good work with a great coverage of this remarkable event (yet again) and especially, this video. It's a pity for me that I missed the last two games as well as the opportunity to suggest questions; nevertheless, the outcome of the match and many of the questions actually asked were truly enjoyable.

I must say I have not particularly liked Anand's chess for quite some time, I cannot even explain to myself, why. His superb achievements and versatility (no matter whether it was about different time controls, championship formats or playing styles) paired up with continuously humble, respectful thoughts and opinions makes me believe now that he is one of the greatest champion the history of this beautiful game ever saw. Congratulations to your title and wish you lots of further success!

As for Topalov, I thank him his great fighting spirit, an example every single chess players should follow. I very much hope that his values will find their route back to the heart of many fans; however, IMHO, this definitely not going to happen through the plain, often simply primitive rhetoric of his current manager.


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