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I want to be number one again: Anand

Reigning world chess champion Viswanathan Anand wants to regain the number one position in the FIDE world rankings by the year-end.

Anand, who retained his world championship in May, has already resumed training to move to the top from world No 3 position.

To start with, the Grandmaster will play a tournament in Norway next month and in December he will travel to China, Spain and London to participate in major tournaments in a bid to improve upon his ranking.

Anand, who is currently behind Magnus Carlsen and Veseling Topalov, was world number one way back in July 2008.

Anand was quick to point out that the road to top is tough. 'Carlsen, Topalov, Vladmir Kramnik and Levon Aronian, all have a chance. It will be tough for me to get there.'

'I have resumed practice after a much needed break. I am motivated to be number one again. My strategy has always been of playing few tournaments. But now I realise I will have to play more often if I have to be number one,' Anand told IANS Saturday on the sidelines of NIIT 'Mind Champions' initiative to popularise chess among children.

There is very little that Anand has not achieved in the game of chess. He has won the world championship four times and the chess maestro from Chennai has also been bestowed with India's highest sporting honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, in 1991.

Anand, however, said his career is far from over. 'Retiring from the sport has not crossed my mind and it is the last thing I can think of. I am only 40 and I will play as long as I can and enjoy playing. Right now I am focused and looking forward to the chess season.'

Anand has also been greatly responsible for popularising chess (especially among schoolboys and girls) in India. He along with NIIT has been trying to create awareness about the game ever since he won his first world title in 2000.

'We have about 8000 chess clubs, encompassing a million students across the country. The idea is to cover as many schools as possible. I am confident that if the 'Mind Champions' program is implemented properly, India will be the foremost chess nation once again,' added Anand.

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