Chess Player Careers Are Shortening – Know Why?
With the coronavirus outbreak last year, many sporting activities around the world were postponed or stopped. Amid the tough times, many athletes have taken up different activities that have kept their momentum going during the lockdown. Indian cricketer and one of the team’s best all-around players, Ravichandran Ashwin has launched his own chat videos on YouTube with the title ‘DRS with Ash’, a show where he hosts many eminent personalities in Indian sports and becomes candid with them when discussing the various aspects of their sport.
The series, which debuted in June 2020, marked its 26th episode on Monday in which Ashwin called on India’s most prominent chess grandmaster, Viswanathan Anand. While sharing his experience and various ideas about his game, the five-time world chess champion said that the career span of players has become shorter than before.
Anand went on to explain that the reason was the high level of hard work resulting from intense competition. He said the level of “physical tension” is much higher these days compared to the previous era and therefore players need to be physically fit. “The physicality of your life comes into the sport. The level of physical tension and the physical level are much higher now. So nowadays it’s fitness, physical fitness and physical fitness”,
He added: “This hard work takes a lot of energy and as a result, career spans are getting shorter. That is indisputable.
The 51-year-old chess maestro was referring to the hard work of (chess) players these days. Asked about playing against younger generation players, Anand said he will try to bring unfamiliar situations to them using his vast experience. “Young players, you could drop them in any situation and they would just calculate better. And how did those two strategies collide? Computers changed that, because it shortened the time, you have to have experience,” he said.
Anand said the legendary Bobby Fischer was one of the reasons many started looking to chess as a career. “In the 1970s and 1980s, probably like many sports, chess was just beginning to become a career. The main reason was Bobby Fischer. “It was already a career for people in the Soviet Union or the Russian bloc. ‘Is, but this concept was not. does not exist anywhere else. But after Fischer, those doors started to open for everyone,” Anand said. Fischer, we are here today’.”
Watch the full episode here:
Anand recalled that in 1970s and 80s India, chess was not a career option. “You could join a PSU and maybe find a niche or a public sector bank so you can get support for that. You have a stable job and you can play chess. But that was pretty limited and the second thing is, of course, computerization, telecommunications, all that has changed chess as well.” When asked if chess players are super smart, Anand replied, “Chess players are pretty smart. they do it very well.” He also said that playing chess helps a person in other ways like improving memory and concentration.
The Chennai-based chess ace renowned for his fast style of play said he was the best fast player in the world until he was around 40 years old before the new generation took over. “I’m sure there’s a generation in cricket that still looks down on a day and says it’s not the real thing. Likewise, there’s a generation now (in chess) that just doesn’t understand , although there was once a question “So the next generation is quite difficult to compete with. I had one or two glorious moments like the rapid world championship in 2017 which I won. When I won, no one could expect it and above all, I did not expect it”, he signed.
With PTI entries