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It’s cruel to ask Viswanathan Anand to retire, says wife Aruna

Aruna Anand gave a subtle statement, probably aimed at those who had been gunning for his retirement last year.


Viswanathan Anand

What’s the story?

Aruna Anand, the wife of chess maestro Viswanathan Anand, has spoken out against the players and the journalists who kept harping on Anand’s retirement.

Aruna, who has been the strong, solid and silent support behind Anand since their wedding in 1996, lashed out saying that it was cruel to ask him to stop playing even when he had clarified that he had no intentions of retiring as long as he loved the game.

"Thankfully, it was those journalists who did not understand the chess world completely and have no clue about what Anand is doing. Right from the time Anand was six, he has been enjoying and playing chess and that is the only thing he has been doing all these years. To ask him to stop playing is simply being cruel," Aruna was quoted as saying to Mid-Day.

“If and when Anand chooses to retire, it will be in a way which is most natural for him.”

In case you didn’t know…

Anand’s poor form towards the start of the season had prompted many former players and journalists to suggest that it was time for the five-time world champion to retire. A few months back, the 48-year-old suffered one of his worst defeats at the Chess World Cup 2017 in Tbilisi as he crashed out in the second round. Since then, it was the general consensus that age was clearly showing in his performance.

The heart of the matter

Former Asian rapid chess champion Lanka Ravi had even suggested in an interview that Anand should have retired after his defeat to world No.1 Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship final in 2014.

Anand himself had clarified time and again that he wanted to play the game as long as he enjoyed it. He had also added that questions about his retirement drove him crazy. He did suffer a bad defeat at the World Cup but it was no reason to retire.

Now, after Anand’s superb title win at the World Rapid Chess Championship and bronze medal win at the World Blitz Chess Championship, wife Aruna has come forward in support of her husband.

What’s next?

Anand has come back strongly and shown the world that his abilities are not on the wane. He will be looking to continue his good run and silence his critics on the way.

Author’s take

It is not very difficult to understand Aruna’s sentiments. Any sportsperson who has won so many laurels for his country over the years should be given the honour of deciding when he wants to bid adieu. No one has the right to tell someone, who is as successful as Anand, to retire.

Moreover, as Anand has already clarified time and again, he still enjoys the sport. If someone enjoys doing something, then there is no reason why he should have to quit!

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