Posted 1 years ago

Chess General

Vishwanathan Anand’s support for the younger generation

Vishwanathan Anand’s support for the younger generation
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While India has always boasted of young Chess grandmasters, lack of training often becomes an impediment to them becoming leaders in the global arena. To alleviate this, Vishwanathan Anand started the Westbridge Anand Chess Academy (WACA) in 2020.

While his achievements in chess are well-known, his support for the younger generation is no less. In the 2022 Chess Olympiad, GM Gukeshwas set to take on Uzbekistan’s NodirbekAbdusattorov. As the match progressed, Gukesh had a winning position, but ultimately blundered to lose the match, giving Uzbekistan the lead, it needed to win the gold. The following day Gukesh was to face Germany’s Vincent Keymer, who he confidently proceeded to defeat.

On being asked what helped him turn around his mental game, the young GM replied that after his loss, Anand had discussed similar mistakes he had made, which motivated the young player to learn from his mistakes and focus on the next game.

 The Westbridge Chess Academy was founded after Anand was approached by the Managing Director about a joint project. He was previously inspired by initiatives like the Botvinnik Chess Academy that mentored Soviet players, and the Samford Fellowship which intended to hone American Juniors who often lost out due to the demands of additional jobs and university.

 Anand proceeded to combine both concepts by conceptualizing an academy which provided select players a chance to develop their talent and included financial support. The current group of students include well-known names such as Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa, Nihal, Raunak, Vaishali, Leon, Arjun and Savitha.

They are trained by the likes of Anand, Boris Gelfand, Grzegorz Gajewski, Artur Yusupov and Sandipan Chanda. Furthermore, Anand is also assisted by his wife Aruna Anand, who is known to have been a steadfast support throughout his career. The Chess legend is currently happy with the progress made at WACA and hopes that the programme continues to evolve.

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