It's hard to swallow any defeat but it gets even tougher when you lose to the same person twice in two years. Of course, the fact that it was for the world chess crown also weighs in.
For Vishy Anand, few defeats hurt as much as Chennai 2013. But, the defeat helped him and his chess in ways he did not think possible.
"As I sit down tonight, there are many thoughts and one thought comes to mind. Last December, I thought to myself 'You are not a quitter.'," tweeted Anand soon after the match. "And I can say I feel proud to have played in Sochi. I enjoyed the journey. Magnus played a better match. This is his moment. Congrats"
It was Anand at his magnanimous best.
"I wanted to play good chess. I think I did a reasonable job. There were some moments of failure. But I dont think I am affected," he further said. "I would like to thank the three people on my team who believed in me. They did a wonderful job. Aruna for the month of stress and patience. Akhil for being a very sweet child and jumping when his Appa chess comes on the screen. But my thanks also to everyone who watched enjoyed; to everyone who prayed and wrote ... thanks. I hope to still play chess as long as I enjoy.
"It's still sad to lose but this was a match where I tried and lost. Today I could have played safe and gone for all in on game 12. I saw a chance and took a risk that went badly. Somedays it's moves like this that make you a champion, some days you just shrug it off atleast you didn't try to be a quitter."
A day later... Anand still couldn't get his mind off the chess, off Sochi.
"It's one of those days when you can't sleep and your brains have switched off. There are many questions. Did I miss or could I have... maybe," said Anand.
Then, he went on to talk about chess... his chess and how it changed -- rather stagnated -- over the years. He even hinted at how the world championship matches took a toll on his chess and didn't allow it to evolve as he would have ideally liked.
"The last few years playing world championship matches almost every year from 2007 has been tough. You have this opponent waiting for you," he said. "In 2011-2012, I would have liked to change things in my chess and made some attempts. But knowing there is a match, your play is aimed at it."
"Well, chess politics or the system gave me the title shots of my career. I was lucky to be in that position but found it difficult to ride on both horses. I was able to correct that in early 2013 but succumbed to preparation mode. I think 2008 my work was most efficient...
"In 2010 I coped best under the situation. 2012 I held on. 2013 I would say I worked hardest and thats what hurt me the most."
This year was different for Anand. He found his way back, played a lot of chess; a lot of good chess; won titles and started looking a lot more like the old Anand.
"2014... I found a good equilibrium of not overdoing work but my seconds keep telling me go chill. Modern chess is very complex and sometimes you cant control every aspect. I still remember in the 80s i would read a chess book have an idea and go play. Today an idea is maybe 3 weeks of work with many seconds."
Still, the thoughts of quitting have stayed far away from Anand. And that also tells us how quickly he has managed to move on.
"I will soon play in London and look forward to some fun on the board and also meeting friends," he added.
Chess, fun and friends. For Anand, it doesn't get better than that.
Updated Date: Nov 25, 2014 10:18:49 IST