Viswanathan Anand lends support to include chess at Olympics

Viswanathan Anand lends support to include chess at Olympics

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Viswanathan Anand has offered his support to ensure that the game of chess finds a spot in the Olympics, starting from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The international governing body for chess body has already applied for the same and expects a final decision to be made this summer.

Viswanathan Anand, who last played in India back in 2013 when he lost the World Championship title to Magnus Carlsen of Norway, will take on Filipino-American Wesley So in the star-studded Tata Steel Chess India 2018 beginning on Friday. Ahead of the crucial tie against the American, the former world number one spoke about his dream to see chess as part of the Olympics in the near future.

“It would be wonderful for chess. Definitely we can fit into either Games; Winter or Summer. And I believe it’s probably one of the least complicated sports. So it should be a fairly easy sport to get in. So I hope it will happen. It will impact chess in a lot of countries, at a lot of levels, being part of the Olympics. That would be a big leap for chess. Very enthusiastic if that happens,” Anand told The Indian Express on Thursday.

The five-time World Champion was in Kolkata to participate in the Tata Steel Chess which will be played in Rapid and Blitz formats, with 11 top-ranked players from around the world. Anand returned to the city of Kolkata, 26 years later to play a chess tournament. The Last time he visited the city was back in 1992, as a 23-year-old and the country’s first-ever GM.

The Indian legend has earlier also voiced his support for chess’ inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The governing body of world chess has applied for the same and are expecting a final call to be made sometime this summer.

“Many people do not consider chess as a sport, because they don’t see any physical activity happening. But chess is much more difficult than any other physical sports. To be able to compete in chess at a high level requires a lot of stamina and mental strength. With the amount the energy that a chess player spends during a classical chess game, it’s comparable to any other physical sport, say basketball or tennis. So I think chess should be included (in the Olympics) to make chess much more prestigious,” America’s Wesley So also added.

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