Surya Sekhar Ganguly is one of India’s top players and a permanent member of his country’s national team and one of the favourites to win the Indonesia Open Chess Championship (IOCC) 2012. In recent years Ganguly has also been known as a member of World Champion Viswanathan Anand’s team in his defence of his title.
Despite feeling a little under the weather and having lost his voice, Ganguly graciously agreed to be interviewed.
Q: What is your opinion about your performance till this stage of the tournament?
A: Things were going well until the 5th round and I was quite happy with the games but then I had a complete blackout in round six against Yu Yangyi. I won the 7th round and now hope to comeback in the last two games.
Q: What do you do to keep your play in a steady shape?
A: I can’t really say I am steady right now (smiles). However in general I think its what pretty much everybody does….. work hard on chess and to also stay physically fit.
Q: Are you still World Champion Viswanathan Anand’s second? What has been its impact on you?
A: I worked with Anand in his last three matches, against Kramnik, Topalov and Gelfand. I have a learned lot from being in his team.
Q: What is your next target in chess?
A: Right now I am not thinking beyond the next two games here.
Q: In your opinion, why is India able to produce many great chess players?
A: It is true India has produced many Grandmasters but still there are hardly any players above 2700 of course excluding the world champion. The Indian Government supports chess a lot and there are companies which supports players individually. Most of the top players from India plays for oil companies like I am from Indian Oil.
Q: When was the first time you learned chess? Who taught you? Why did you choose chess as your sport?
A: I started at the age of 5. My grandfather taught me chess. The basic idea was to make me more calm and quiet but apparently they did not succeed! I was doing all kind of sports but chess was something different for me always…. chess was the most interesting game for me as compared to any other sports/games.
Q: Do you do another sports?
A: I like to play soccer, badminton, carrom etc. Being an Indian I also know how to play cricket. I also enjoy doing Karate.
Q: What is the biggest impact that chess has had on you?
A: Very hard to say…. chess taught me many things in life but right now what comes in mind is that chess players are very lazy other than in doing chess (smiles).
Q: Who is your favorite chess player?
A: I always used to adore Fischer a lot in my childhood. Now I don’t really have any particular favorite player.
Q: What is the most memorable tournament for you?
A: When I became Grandmaster it was a very special feeling. Also when I won Asian Championship in 2009 that was a nice moment too. But performance wise may be winning individual gold medal in World Team Championship and that was also most satisfying.
Q: Thank you very much. I hope that you will get well soon.
A; Thanks to you too. It is very nice to play here in Indonesia. I like the people very much. Hope to come back again next year (smiles).