Viswanathan Anand shares what led to his unexpected victory at World Rapid Chess Championship at Riyadh.
But first let us look at why this was unexpected. He is 48 and has not won a championship in last few years with many having written him off.
I must admit that the depressing results (in my earlier tournaments) took a toll on my confidence, but I tried to be positive. What makes the win (in rapid chess title) more unexpected was that when I went into the third day — I wasn’t leading. (Vladimir) Fedoseev was in the lead and there was nothing that pointed at me winning. However, the day ended with me being a champion and the result was a marvelous surprise.
He identified what was not working:
In all these tournaments with multiple rounds, what happens is — you play one round and then mill around aimlessly while the pairings (of subsequent rounds) are done. I felt that aimlessly walking around and then striking a conversation with someone messed up my focus (in previous events) and I was very angry with that.
Then the magical thing he did:
So I decided to have a routine. In Riyadh, I would finish a game and go and get my computer. I would find a place to sit and make use of the majority of the break time by studying my moves or deciding on the next course of action in a game. Just 10 minutes before my game, I would put the computer back in the locker and head to my table. I felt I used my break between the games in a productive manner.
Did he come out of his comfort zone? Yes, he continued:
Normally I am someone who doesn’t like to carry things. I don’t usually like to have bag with me and prefer to be hands free. But this time, I decided to take one and it seemed to have worked for me.
What is your routine? What distracts you?
What is keeping you in your comfort zone? What is not working?
What changes can lead you towards ruthless focus?
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