NEW DELHI, June 1 (PTI): In a rare display of irritation, Viswanathan Anand, who has just won his fifth world title, today hit out at chess great Gary Kasparov and other critics for suggesting that he lacked motivation.
�I think that this is the first time I have played a match where so many people seemed to have negative opinion about my play. And the thing is I do not think I lacked motivation,� Anand said about his clash with Israel�s Boris Gelfand, whom he beat in Moscow on Wednesday to win his fifth world title.
42-year-old Anand told NDTV in an interview from Moscow that Kasparov �keeps talking about my age� but Gelfand was slightly older at 44.
The champion, who is known for his cool temperament, said that he had proved Russian Kasparov, who is one of the greatest ever chess players, wrong. Some years ago, he had described Kasparov as his nemesis after losing matches to him.
Not only Kasparov, �there were many people also parroting what he was saying,� Anand said.
�He (Kasparov) keeps talking about my age but I could just as well say Boris (Gelfand) is even slightly older. I think the problem is all the people who started out assuming that I was the heavy favourite in this match were reluctant to admit that their prognosis was wrong,� Anand said.
Anand said he never considered himself as the favourite and knew that Gelfand would be a tough opponent.
�I never saw myself as a favourite, the thing I knew Gelfand would be a very very difficult opponent. And looking at his recent plays I understood that this is how the match would go. And so I never felt I had to answer after every game �what was going wrong?� because nothing was going wrong.
�This was Gelfand playing well and me trying to play equally well, hang in there and wait for my chance. But all those people who said I was a favourite were reluctant to admit that they were wrong and were simply saying that I lacked motivation and was playing badly and so on and on. And I definitely feel like i proved something here,� said Anand.
The Indian Grandmaster gave credit to Gelfand who never allowed him to play his natural game.
�I think you have to give full credit to my opponent Gelfand. He never let me get the kind of play that I like and that is very frustrating as you like to play in a way certain but Gelfand neutralised almost everything I did and so I had to cope with that.
�But it was very satisfying, especially when the ambiance around you is so negative. In the press conference they more or less keep repeating what people like Kasparov said. It is not secret that I have had difficulty in a couple of tournaments and my confidence therefore suffers a bit. But I think under those circumstances if you can hang in there and win like this then it is all the more satisfying,� Anand said.