A Monty Python fan from Madras

V. Anand, world chess champion and resident of Madras, in an interview to the German magazine Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Mr Anand, in two weeks you will be defending your title as World Champion against the Russian Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn [Germany]. Two weeks ago you finished last in the Masters Tournament in Bilbao. Is that a psychological handicap?

Anand: Thank you very much for bringing that up. It reminds me of John Cleese from Monty Python. In Fawlty Towers a group of Germans visits his hotel, and he admonishes his staff not to mention the war to them – while he himself can talk about nothing else. So please: don't mention Bilbao.

An interesting part of the interview is where Anand (that's his first name: it's not Mr. Anand) talks about the role of computers in chess:

SPIEGEL: Computers are becoming more and more important. Has chess become a preparation game – whoever is better prepared wins?

Anand: That was always the case. Today we analyse our games with the computer, in the 16th century people did it with a board. That is only a gradual difference. Preparation for a world championship was always an arms race, in previous times with books, then with seconds, today with computers. The computer is an excellent training partner. It helps me to improve my game.

Of course, this is not limited to chess.  Computers have increased human ability in a lot of fields by doing away with a lot of drudgery.  But it is the rare practitioner who can see that and not be threatened.

The interview finally veered back to Monty Python:

SPIEGEL: In recent times the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen has been in the headlines. He is seventeen and at the beginning of the month he was, for five days, the number one in the unofficial world rankings. How good is he?

Anand: He will sooner or later become World Champion. I like him, he is a Monty Python fan, just like me.

SPIEGEL: There are rumours that he is your second for the World Championship against Kramnik.

Anand: That's a rumour I have heard as well. Perhaps there is some truth in it. Perhaps not. Let Kramnik figure it out, let him occupy his mind with this question. That is part of the psychological game before this kind of match. When you know who is part of your opponent's team you can imagine what he is planning. So I will not reveal anything.

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