Chandigarh: Viswanathan Anand may have successfully defended his title, but the five-time world chess champion feels that weeks of intense training and hard work comes to nothing as it boils down to few last critical moments and grabbing the opportunity.

"It's about the critical moments and these usually come down to few minutes or even few seconds apart from the one game. If you don't grab that opportunity when it comes, it wastes all the months of work," 42-year-old Anand said.

He humbled Israel's Boris Gelfand in Moscow this May to defend the title. Attired in a blue shirt and dark trousers, Anand was here to present the NIIT Turning Point Scholarship to Rajat Kapoor, an underprivileged college student from Ambala.

The chess champion talked in length about the game and the intense moments he went through and the reactions from different quarters after his win.

"In my match, it was the eighth game...He (Gelfand) made a big blunder in one move and that allowed me to comeback. The turning point was the eighth game," he said.

"I feel happy and relieved that I defended the title successfully. Main thing was to retain the title and not numbers (of becoming a five-time champion). It was a very very tough match. The night before the tie-break was tough and I could barely catch couple of hours of sleep," he said.

When asked that there were many who had raised the demand that he deserved a 'Bharat Ratna', Anand said he thanks all those who feel he deserves it.

"Well, I am not going to ask it for myself. If someone proposes my name, I am grateful for their support," he said to a question.

He stressed the need of taking chess to schools and said with NIIT, premier IT trainer, they had launched a programme of taking the sport to schools.

Anand sees a bright prospect for the sport in India. "I think it is coming up very well. The number of kids taking to the game is good. The future is very bright. On top of that, we (with NIIT) have started with this idea of taking chess to schools. We have already started off with Tamil Nadu."

"The idea behind is to take the sport to schools, especially in the rural schools and smaller towns. The basic idea is that we found a connection between chess and academics. Students who play chess a couple of times a week show improvement in their overall abilities," the world champion added.

Favouring chess be made part of the school curriculum, Anand said,"Definitely, chess should be introduced in schools in some permanent way. It doesn't mean that the students have to be intensive chess players."

In the upcoming Olympic games in London, Anand hopes that India should put up a good performance.

"I think badminton, athletics, boxing, archery and shooting, there are many possible areas where we can win. I think we should be able to get more than the number of medals we got last time," he said.

With India being increasingly recognised as a growing power in the world but lagging in athletics and other sports, he said that more efforts need to be put to change this.

"Last year, I joined the Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) movement (initiated by billiards ace) Geet Sethi to support the country's elite sportspersons and potential young talent. As a sportsperson, it is nice to join my fellow sportspersons in making India a sporting and Olympic nation," he said.

To a question, he said it would be nice if chess finds a permanent place in the Olympics.


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