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Anand makes his move

Chess wizard Viswanathan Anand plans to author two books


AFTER A match, Viswanathan Anand invariably scribbles his thoughts down in a notebook. And his parents meticulously file the press clippings of his interviews. Often, the chess champion leafs through these wads of papers. These help him go back in time and relive memories. Soon, Anand will be putting this collection to another use. These notes, among other things, will give shape to two books - one autobiographical, and the other, a chess manual.

Breezing into Lyolds at Park Sheraton, Chennai, Anand made this announcement last Tuesday. Penguin India, which will publish these books, is expected to enter into a legally binding pact with two writers to assist Anand in his new role as raconteur. As nothing much is clear yet, Anand could describe these books only in broad brush strokes. The reciprocal influence he has had with other players will determine the nature of his autobiographical book. He said that in his travels around the world he had acquainted himself with various cultures, languages and culinary preparations. These experiences will define some of the integrants of the book.

When someone wondered aloud if Anand was making a premature attempt at an autobiography, the chess champion said that at 34, he was no spring chicken. "In most tournaments, I am the oldest player in the fray." He added that he had not tumbled down the vale of years, either. "I am in a sort of in-between age and I think this is the right time to take stock of what has transpired so far." Citing another reason, he said that many chess players before him had taken the trouble to put together their memoirs in black and white. The chess manual is expected to go beyond mere enumeration and explication of various styles. There will be a lot of self-referential elements (in it) to juice it up.

Quite significantly, the two books are going to see the light of day only in 2005. By announcing the books even before their basic outlines are clear, one may think that Anand and Penguin India are leaving themselves wide open to criticism. But, who knows, this may be one of Anand's "off-the-board" gambits, which may simply come through!

PRINCE FREDERICK

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