Viswanathan Anand believes that like National Championship in Badminton, bringing top chess players of the country to play on one platform can help the sport grow better. He has also stated that his Viswanathan Anand Chess Academy is trying to help and create a new crop of stars in the country.
Recently, Badminton Association of India organized national championships in Nagpur where all the top Indian shuttlers participated making it one of the most watched events in badminton this year. Anand suggested a similar idea can be followed by the national chess body. In the just-concluded National Premier chess meet in Patna, only three of the top 20 Indian players participated and none of the top-12 were there.
"It would be very good idea to get all the top players to play in some event, could be the Nationals or maybe a league. Either of them works for me, but currently talks are more about the league than all the players getting to play in the nationals," Anand said as quoted by TOI.
Anand opined that there is always a scope for improvement but it needs enough platforms where the upcoming chess players can compete with the top-seeded Indian players.
"We have a circuit of four open tournaments, Indian 'A' and 'B' championships. They are very competitive even if the top players don't participate. Of course, it would be nice if all of us could play. The Maharashtra Chess League (MCL) was a very good initiative in that sense (getting top players play with juniors), hopefully, it can be revived soon," the 47-year-old said.
However, the MCL, which was held for four consecutive years in Pune, is unlikely to be held this year because of state politics. The AICF had disaffiliated Maharashtra Chess Association and introduce newly-floated All Marathi Chess Association.
When asked the details about his academy, Anand said in jest - "By the way, it is a nicer way to ask the retirement question. My role will be of monitoring (and not coaching). My first job will be to monitor to see new training methods. The second will be to see how the students react to the coaching methods."
Anand seemed impressed with the performance of Youngster Vidit Gujrathi at the world level.
"Vidit is one of our great hopes. He has progressed over the last year and a half. It has been a very consistent rise. He has been firmly a 2700 player and he is showing that. I think working with Anish Giri has helped him a lot as it allowed him to see how the best players work. We have four or five hopefuls, but he is definitely the best one," Anand said.