‘Kramnik was persuasive in making me play Candidates’

After the draw against Karjakin, Anand talked about how his participation in Russia was not foregone.

Khanty Mansyisk | Updated: March 30, 2014 7:32:45 pm

After coming into the Candidates tournament as the underdog, Viswanathan Anand won with a round to spare. After the draw against Sergey Karjakin, Anand talked about how his participation in Russia was not foregone and the role Vladimir Kramnik played in getting him on board. He also spoke about the draw against Karjakin and the standard of play.

On importance of the win
You can imagine. To win a tournament and to win this one, it is incredibly important. It is just a very very strong field. Today was close, it was the one day when I was shaky. Under the circumstances I shouldn’t whinge too much.

On having the best tournament in four years
I try not to think too much about the last four years. Certainly, I was very happy, pleasantly surprised with how I played and my results. Before the tournament I had no idea what to expect, but it went ridiculously well.

On the delay in announcing Candidates participation
I wanted to feel good about playing. I just did not want to turn up automatically. I was hesitating a little bit. Not like I sat down and wrote reasons for and against. I decided there was no need to hurry with the decision. The biggest mistake I made was to say that. I was pestered no end with questions. I should have simply said ‘Of course I am going to play’ and then thought about it. If I didn’t play I could have said I changed my mind. It was incredibly silly of me. I wanted to take the decision when I was OK; sometimes you just want a little bit of time by yourself.

On Kramnik’s role in helping him decide
In London, (Vladimir) Kramnik had of the most ridiculous games of all time against Hikaru (Nakamura), which he lost. Though he had beaten me the previous day, I thought after the game, I had to cheer him up a bit. I called him and asked if he wanted to go for dinner. The plan was for me to cheer him up but in the end he started to cheer me up. ‘Why don’t you play’ and so on. In a sense he wasn’t the only reason I played but he was persuasive.

On the permutations coming into round 13
Today was funny, because for the whole tournament I was watching only Levon (Aronian) because he was the closest, but then few days ago I realised that both Sergey (Karjakin) and Peter (Svidler) have this possibility to beat me, win another game and (go ahead on the) tie-break, because they were my remaining opponents (for rounds 13, 14). I then realised that even with a one point lead, the last two rounds were going to be difficult. This is more or less what happened.

On the close game with Karjakin
In a day like today you are going to make mistakes. It is just one of those days. If Sergey had won today then it would have been suddenly a very complicated situation because he plays Levon and there was a worst-case scenario where both of them could overtake me with a win. First I thought I had something more here (after the exchange of queens), I thought I might have excellent compensation, but somehow my next move is not clear.

On whether others had an off-tournament
It is very strange because last year at this stage two players were +4 and two players were +2 (denoted difference between no. of wins and losses). I found it extremely strange that after today I am the only one with a plus score (more wins than losses). The point is it is not pure wins and losses, the point is people had both, rather than one person having all the wins and one person having all the losses. In that sense, the tournament was very hard fought.

(The full text of the interview can be found on the official tournament website candidates2014.fide.com)

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