New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) Chess legend Viswanathan Anand on Wednesday addressed the newly-appointed Assistant Directors of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in a special online session from Germany.

Anand said SAI can make a big difference towards promoting chess as a sport in India. “SAI already has facilities and infrastructure for training. It would be of great help to budding chess players if SAI could give them access to special chess Computers in these facilities since most players don’t have access to these,” he pointed.

Speaking at the session, the multiple-time world champion shared his experiences from his nearly four decade long career in chess, how the game has changed over the years with advanced technology and also how the Sports Authority of India can help in building up budding chess players in the country.

Anand has been in Germany since the coronavirus pandemic broke out and lockdown was announced in various countries, including India. He said that he likes to go on long walks during this period and emphasised on the importance of fitness in a sport like chess which is perceived as a sport of the mind.

Anand urged young chess players to go to SAI centres and keep their physical fitness at par with their mental fitness. “Fitness is not a problem when you are young, but it becomes a factor when you start getting older. Go for a week to a SAI facility and take up fitness with athletes from other sports,” Anand said.

Anand also warned that children should not make chess a full-time career until the age of 18 and should finish their studies. “In chess you do not have to turn professional. I get worried if 12-13 year olds want to take up full-time chess careers. In all professions, uncertainty is very high, parents should give the child the flexibility to decide what they want to do,” he said.

Asked by one of the participants in the session if COVID-19 has popularised online chess, Anand said, “Online chess has always been popular but we are hearing far more of it now because of the pandemic and the lockdown. However, what needs to be seen now is if we can improve the level of these online competitions. In a few weeks from now we will compete in the Online Nations Cup which will see teams from four countries and two continents participating. With technology, everything is possible now.”




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