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India's 64th GM Prithu Gupta visits India's 1st GM Vishy Anand's home in Chennai

by Sagar Shah - 04/09/2019

It's said, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." For India's 64th GM Prithu Gupta, 3rd of September 2019 was one such day. He got the chance to meet his idol Viswanathan Anand at Vishy's residence in Chennai. Prithu flew down from Delhi to Chennai and spent a few hours with Anand and together they analyzed some interesting chess positions. In 1987, Vishy Anand became India's first GM and on 18th July 2019, the first chess board of Indian GMs was completed when Prithu Gupta became the 64th GM. It was wonderful to see the first and the 64th GMs together! In this article Prithu tells us what he learnt from this unique meet with the chess legend.

When a1 and h8 met!

Just a couple of days ago we saw Vishy Anand fighting out for the top spot at the Sinquefield Cup 2019. After coming back from the US, one would imagine him taking some time off. After all the event was tense and the travel from Saint Louis to Chennai is pretty long. But Anand was back on duty, this time not preparing for his tournaments, but nurturing and boosting the talent of Indian chess. 15-year-old Prithu Gupta became India's 64th GM around 45 days ago. Vishy invited the youngster to his home to spend some time with him and also to analyze a few positions.

That's where the champ trains! Prithu gets to analyze a few games inside Anand's study room

Checking some Maroczy positions?!

Vishy Anand has always made it a point to boost the young chess talents of our country. In February 2019, he had invited youngsters Gukesh and Pragg to his home to analyze and speak with them. 

Speaking to ChessBase India Prithu said, "Meeting Anand sir, interacting with him and looking at chess with him was a surreal experience for me. Two months back if someone would have told me that I would be India’s 64th grandmaster and would discuss chess moves with a chess legend like Anand sir in his personal analysis room and get trained by another chess legend, Kramnik sir in his home town, I would have probably laughed it off as a joke. But it really happened!"

Just standing in Anand's training room and seeing those trophies is enough to motivate any youngster

Prithu and Anand discussed this topical line in the Queen's Gambit Declined where Black gives up his c7 pawn for quick development. Vishy tested this line against Caruana and Karjakin at the Sinquefield Cup 2019

White picks up the pawn on c7 and the onus is now on Black to generate counterplay

Topical line in 5.Bf4 Queen's Gambit Declined

How should Black generate counterplay here for the pawn?

Vishy gave a check on a5 against Karjakin and after Kf1 (Note Qd2 is met with Bb4 and Nd2 is quite passive) he took on e2 and doubled his rooks on the c-file.

Karjakin vs Anand, Sinquefield Cup 2019

It seems as if Black has reached maximum activity. How should he continue?

Taking the pawn on b2 is not really a great idea as it then allows White to wrest over the c-file. Vishy came up with a powerful idea here.

17...g5! Having firm control of the c-file he decides to disturb the balance on the kingside. It didn't take too many moves for Anand to achieve a draw in this game.

Vishy is all ears to what Prithu has to say

Prithu adds, "I would really like to thank Aruna ma’am and Anand sir for inviting me to their house today. Anand sir has always been my idol but I learnt what being a complete individual meant, from him today. Not only did the wealth of knowledge that he possessed (apart from chess) amaze me but his humility and focus taught me that being successful is not the only parameter of being a complete individual."

The few hours with Anand and Aruna were a life-enhancing experience for 15-year-old Prithu

When Vishy became India's first GM in 1987, no one knew how Indian chess would progress in the years to come. The fact that we have produced 64 GMs in 32 years, and 8 in the last year itself, means that things are moving along the right track. It goes without saying that Vishy has been instrumental for the chess boom in the country and it is amazing to see that he still continues to do his bit for Indian chess even after all these years, and all these achievements!

The first chess board of Indian chess - On the top left we have Vishy Anand and on the bottom right is our latest GM Prithu Gupta!

There is one thing that Prithu learnt from Anand that will remain with him forever. "There’s a saying in Spanish," says Prithu, "Vive la Vida, con un proposito y vivelo el maxim" (live your life with a purpose and live it to the maximum) and this is what I learnt from Anand sir today!"

 

Starting from 9th of October Vishy and Prithu will play in the same tournament - the FIDE Grand Swiss in Isle of Man. It could be quite possible that both of them would be paired against each other in that event!

"Two months back if someone would have told me that I would be India’s 64th grandmaster and would discuss chess moves with a chess legend like Anand sir in his personal analysis room and get trained by another chess legend, Kramnik sir in his home town, I would have probably laughed it off as a joke!" - Prithu

Meeting the Managing Director of Microsense Private Limited

One of the other important meetings for Prithu on the same day was with the co-founder and managing director of Microsense Networks Private Limited Mr. S. Kailasanathan. Microsense was the sponsor of the ten day camp with Vladimir Kramnik that Prithu attended. The camp was a valuable learning experience for the youngster and Prithu thanked Kailasanathan for making it possible.

From left to right: Mr. Kailasanathan's wife and his grandson, his elder brother, Prithu, and Mr. Kailasanathan at his residence in Chennai

Prasad RS covers the news in Times of India