Originally posted by Paul Leggett
This may sound a little strange, but I am pulling for Anand in part because I think it will bring a little more attention to Mir Sultan Khan, a great and gifted player who was born in the wrong place and in the wrong time.
Here is a passage written by Reuben Fine about Mir Sultan Khan, and it will break the heart of any modern civilized player (taken ...[text shortened]...
His "master" later took him back to India, and he was never heard from again.
I'd like Anand to win too, simply because he seems like a great guy.
I've also read a lot about Sultan Khan and his story is impressive. He was one of the world's best players and he couldnt really read, which means his openings were terrible and his talent came all from natural ability. Also, in the variation of chess played in India, the pawns could only move up one square at a time, which makes the speed of his adaptation extra impressive.
From Wikipedia, Hooper and Whyld write of him:
''When Sultan Khan first travelled to Europe his English was so rudimentary that he needed an interpreter. Unable to read or write, he never studied any books on the game, and he was put into the hands of trainers who were also his rivals in play. He never mastered openings which, by nature empirical, cannot be learned by the application of common sense alone. Under these adverse circumstances, and having known international chess for a mere seven years, only half of which was spent in Europe, Sultan Khan nevertheless had few peers in the middlegame, was among the world's best two or three endgame players, and one of the world's best ten players. This achievement brought admiration from Capablanca who called him a genius, an accolade he rarely bestowed. ''