When Viswanathan Anand took 3 months to plot his next move

Anand had packed his bags for a short trip to Germany in February, only to be checkmated by fate.

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Viswanathan Anand finally returned to Bengaluru on May 30, after being stranded in Germany for the better part of three months.
It’s not unnatural to feel pensive, especially when one has time on their hands. “You can say age is just a number, but once you cross a threshold or milestone, you look at things differently,” says five time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand, who turned 50 last year.

In February, Anand packed his bags for a short trip to Germany, to represent Baden-Baden in the Chess Bundesliga, only to be checkmated by fate. The league was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but worse still, Anand was holed up in a house outside Frankfurt and he was stuck here as international travel came to a halt.

“What I enjoyed the most was trying to remember what it was like back in the day — to take a flight and land somewhere and not know how to call someone. You call their one landline and hope that they answer it. Everything worked differently then. The first time I went to Moscow, I had this feeling that every Russian taxi driver knew about chess,” Anand recalls.


Anand finally returned to Bengaluru on May 30, after being stranded in Germany for the better part of three months. Here again, he was driven by a taxi driver, but one who was perhaps unaware of his role in the endgame.

Lockdown Skills: Swati Piramal Learnt The Science Behind Making Gelato, Vikas Khanna Mastered Art Of Food Photography
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Top business leaders tell us about how they’ve been keeping themselves busy over the lockdown period.

The three months of the coronavirus-induced lockdown were a productive time for India’s top business leaders, who’ve ventured outside their comfort zones to learn new skills.

Here are the top bosses, in their own words, talking about what they’ve mastered.

Top business leaders tell us about how they’ve been keeping themselves busy over the lockdown period.The three months of the coronavirus-induced lockdown were a productive time for India’s top busine..
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Yash Dongre Business head at House of Anita Dongre

“I have fine-tuned my baking skills. Although my wife Benaisha and I aren’t vegan, the rest of the house is. So, during the lockdown, vegan baking took centrestage. Benaisha makes the best chocolate mousse cake. It’s made with dates, almond flour and coconut milk — it’s a huge hit. I find baking therapeutic. It’s a precise activity where the outcome is as perfect as the work that goes into it. If you follow the instructions, the end result is good. I love that.”

Yash Dongre Business head at House of Anita Dongre“I have fine-tuned my baking skills. Although my wife Benaisha and I aren’t vegan, the rest of the house is. So, during the lockdown, vegan baking to..
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Radhika Ghai, Co-founder, ShopClues


“I’ve learned how to solve the Rubik’s Cube in 60 seconds. I’m also hooked to solving crossword puzzles. I ’m reading extensively. Staying at home, I’ve had the time and leisure to introspect, about things left behind and the invaluable lessons I’ve learnt. It’s been great to purge myself of the mental and physical baggage I’d been carrying.”

Radhika Ghai, Co-founder, ShopClues“I’ve learned how to solve the Rubik’s Cube in 60 seconds. I’m also hooked to solving crossword puzzles. I ’m reading extensively. Staying at home, I’ve had the tim..
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Suresh Rajan Founder, LCR Capital Partners


“I have mastered the art of doing tele-conferences and taking video calls while being on the treadmill. I’m sure it’s distracting to many, but I find it a productive and necessary evil.”

Suresh Rajan Founder, LCR Capital Partners“I have mastered the art of doing tele-conferences and taking video calls while being on the treadmill. I’m sure it’s distracting to many, but I find it a pr..
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Dr Swati Piramal, Vice-chairman, Piramal Enterprises

“Making gelatos with exotic flavours like sambuca, golden gooseberries or gold-flecked caramel. Making gelato is like chemistry. It is very precise and depends on titration of flavours.”

Dr Swati Piramal, Vice-chairman, Piramal Enterprises“Making gelatos with exotic flavours like sambuca, golden gooseberries or gold-flecked caramel. Making gelato is like chemistry. It is very precise..
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Kamal Nandi Business head, Godrej Appliances


“Although I don’t cook very often, I think I can compete with any masterchef when it comes to making amti, a Maharashtrian dal that my family loves. I am a foodie and love trying out new cuisines wherever I go. But with the lockdown, since travelling and exploring other cuisines weren’t possible, I found an alternative: Cooking.”

Kamal Nandi Business head, Godrej Appliances“Although I don’t cook very often, I think I can compete with any masterchef when it comes to making amti, a Maharashtrian dal that my family loves. I am a..
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Vikas Khanna, Chef


“I have mastered the art of food photography. I am watching a lot of new stuff, and I’m using these photography methods for my dishes.”.

Vikas Khanna, Chef“I have mastered the art of food photography. I am watching a lot of new stuff, and I’m using these photography methods for my dishes.”.

Keshav Murugesh Group CEO, WNS and former chairman, NASSCOM


“Since finding fresh bread was proving rather difficult, I honed my skills in focaccia baking. My focaccia breads have been a hit with my family, and nobody wants to have any other bread now.”

Keshav Murugesh Group CEO, WNS and former chairman, NASSCOM“Since finding fresh bread was proving rather difficult, I honed my skills in focaccia baking. My focaccia breads have been a hit with my fa..
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