Viswanathan Anand (left) in action against Magnus Carlsen during their Fide World Chess Championship game a few years back. Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: Viswanathan Anand, former world champion and India’s chess icon, has encouraged everyone to bring out the positivity in them to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to Gulf News from Germany, Anand stressed on the importance of playing a sport like chess to tide over the tough times. “These are very trying times. Staying positive while staying home is most important. Chess is a game that helps a family bond and is something that can be played both online or on the board,” he said.

Anand is stranded in Germany due to the global travel restrictions these days. He revealed that on April 11, he plans to give chess fans from around the world a chance to play top players and raise funds to combat the Covid-19 virus. “On April 11, Indian chess players will try to do their bit in fund-raising while giving chess fans an opportunity to play and engage with us,” the multiple world champion in all formats also added.

Anand, along with India’s men and women champions such Koneru Humpy, P. Harikrishna, B. Adhiban, Vidit Gujrathi and Dronavalli Harika are all gearing up to play against global chess fans and players (at UAE time 5 pm) on April 11 through the portal chess.com and generate money for India’s Prime Minister-Cares Fund. The registration of $25 will fetch one a chance to play any two of the six top Indian players while a game against Anand would require a minimum donation of $150.

Anand believes everyone should enjoy chess. “Enjoy the game, play a lot and study the game well. The main thing is one has to enjoy the game. Then it turns out to be much easier.”

During the many interactions with Anand in Dubai in the past, he has always stressed on the importance of mental strength and training. “Practice a lot and there are no shortcuts. Wanting to learn more and keeping my curiosity high have been the two factors that helped me to do well.”

He had also mentioned how the internet had promoted the game and why it was important to watch great players in action. “Nowadays, a whole lot of matches are shown live on the internet. So anyone can follow it wherever it is held. One can also watch five games simultaneously on the net. When I think back, I find it hard to imagine how people followed the game many years back.”