Reports | October 04, 2008 20:30

Anand interview in Der Spiegel

Anand in Der SpiegelGerman magazine Der Spiegel is Europe's largest and one of the most influential weekly magazines with a circulation of more than one million per week. This week's edition has an interview with Viswanathan Anand.

It's a rare thing that a chess player gets such big coverage in mainstream media, and actually during the last weeks before a world championship match chess media normally don't get to speak to the two players either.

Frederic Friedel, editor of the English Chessbase website, translated this week's Der Spiegel interview with current world champion Viswanathan Anand.


SPIEGEL: How did you prepare for the World Championship?

Anand: I have been studying Kramnik since the end of April, up to ten hours a day, here at home in my cellar, where I have my office. I have a database and construct game plans. I try to neutralise positions in which Kramnik is strong. He is doing the same thing with my game, which I must of course take into consideration. Let me put it this way: I must remember that he is thinking about what I am thinking about him. In any case one is working for months with the computer, trying to find new paths.


SPIEGEL: What is the role of emotions?

Anand: They are decisive. The moment in which you realise that you have made a mistake is the most unsettling you can imagine. You have to try to keep control of your emotions. Chess is a form of acting. If your opponent senses your insecurity or your annoyance or your dejection, then you are bolstering his courage. He will take advantage of your weakness. Confidence is very important ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú even pretending to be confident. If you make a mistake but do not let your opponent see what you are thinking then he may overlook the mistake.


You can read the whole interview here or the original (in German) here.

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.


Euwe's picture

As usual Anand manages to say absolutely nothing of any interest. He has a database, wow. He tries to construct plans, wow. Emotions and confidence are important - again, a real shocker. And he doesn't use psychological tricks? Come on, I'm sure any player of top level will disagree. Without psychological tricks, any human is like a computer. But apparently, the interviewer wanted to stay friends with Anand rather than ask him some serious and critical questions. Too bad.

semipatz's picture

I'm sure Anand is an interesting person, but he's very private. In interviews he always comes across as Mr. Bubblegum.

Theo's picture

He is just very 'diplomatic' , that's all.
He's a nice guy. Very polite!

Euwe's picture

You're right, of course. I'm just disappointed that such an interesting chess player is such a complete and utter bore in interviews :-)

Lajos Arpad's picture

He has to keep his secrets... He'll play Kramnik in a world championship match, remember?

Terrance's picture

I think he is very interesting. Any information he gives away about his preparation can be used agianst him. Although you should see some of his other interviews. I think he did one with CNN in India, it was very interesting.

Jack's picture

Anand is unusual among world class players.....HE'S NORMAL! I don't care what the chessplayers say in interviews, I only care about their moves on the board.

semipatz's picture

NORMAL?!? Perish the thought! ;)

He IS a nice guy, though.

Manu's picture

Lately i find him a little naif.Kramnik will use psychological tricks on him , i hope that Mr nice guy is well prepared 4 that.
I love his chess.

Andre Gan's picture

Common guys, both GMs Anand and Kramnik are preparing for their forthcoming World Chess Championship Match in Bonn, Germany. It is almost needless to state here that understandably neither Anand nor Kramnik shall divulge to the public the specifics of their respective preparation methodologies. On the other hand, as far as psychological tricks are concerned, if any, that can only be made clear when their Match is ensued already and I expect that the same shall deal primarily in terms of preparations and nothing more. We cannot expect worst or indescent psychological tricks from these two descent Grandmasters unlike what GM Kramnik had badly experienced with GM Topalov in their 2006 WCC. I could forsee already that both Kramnik and Anand had high respect to each other.

CAL|Daniel's picture

it is just strange that he would agree to give an interview when he has nothing to say. I suppose I still must respect this for chess to get any mainstream media is nice. I would hope they published some basic details to preface the interview for the nonchess followers.

Dominik's picture

Where is the point in stating that the interview has no content at all? Truely, for a person who is interested in chess (and maybe a strong player himself), the message of this interview is limited, but this is not the reader group targeted at all. If you go to the street and ask some random people about the upcoming chess world championship, most probably only quite few will know about it at all. In fact it might be much more difficult to create interest for a pure sport match without spectacular circumstances like Fischer-Spassky or the toilet war, even if it is the longly anticipated match of two of the most defining players of the last decade.

So basically I'm happy for every mainstream media appeareance of this great match, above all if it is not totally naive and touches many relevant aspects of the match.

semipatz's picture

Well, the part about opponents' breathing WAS interesting.

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