Viswanathan Anand is considered as one of the greatest chess player in the world. He was the first Indian chess grandmaster who went on to become a World Chess Champion. He achieved the former feat in 1988 and was the FIDE World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2002. In 2006 Anand was ranked fourth in the world by FIDE, after Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov. He became the World Champion in 2007 and defended his title in 2008.
He was the first-ever recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, which is India’s highest sporting honour. In 2007, he became the first sportsperson to be awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan. He is also nicknamed the “Tiger of Madras“.
Viswanathan Anand was born on 11 December 1969 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. His father Krishnamurthy Viswanathan worked in the railways and his mother Susila was a housewife. He started learning chess at the age of six. Anand had his schooling at Don Bosco Egmore, Chennai and graduated from Loyola College, Chennai.
His Chess Career
Anand took giant strides in the field of chess within a very short time. At fourteen he won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship in 1983. Next year he became an International Master after winning Asian Junior Chess Championship, which he again won next year. At sixteen he won the National chess Championship and retained the tiles twice. He became the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship in 1987. Next year, when he was eighteen, he became India’s first Grandmaster; and was also awarded Padma Shri in 1988.
In 2000, Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship for the first time and became the first Indian to win that title, and also received a $528,000 cash prize. In the FIDE World Championship Tournament 2007 in Mexico City; Anand clinched the championship with a draw in the final and became the undisputed World champion. In the FIDE Elo rating list for April 2007, Anand was placed at No. 1. Anand successfully defended his title in the World Chess Championship 2008 held in Bonn, Germany, against Vladimir Kramnik. Anand won the Mainz 2008 Supertournament Championship.
In the World Chess Championship 2010, Anand retained the World Championship against Veselin Topalov. He also went on to defend his title in the World Chess Championship 2012 at Moscow. Anand won his 8th game in only 17 moves, which is the shortest decisive game in World Chess Championship history. In the finals he won against Boris Gelfand. In the World Chess Championship 2013, he lost to challenger Magnus Carlsen and lost again to him in the World Chess Championship 2014.
Anand has been participating in various international tournaments and championships since then.
Inspirational Quotes by Viswanathan Anand
“My dream is chess played in every school in India.”
“Confidence is very important – even pretending to be Confident. If you make a Mistake but do not let your Opponent see what you are thinking then he may overlook the Mistake.”
“For me, each game is a new challenge, which has to be dealt with rationally and systematically.”
“You need to motivate yourself, no matter what-definitely when things are bad, but also when things are good. Or else, you risk becoming complacent.”
In 1996, Anand married Aruna; they have a son, Akhil. In 2010, he joined as Director, Olympic Gold Quest, which is an organization for promoting sports in India. His hobbies range from reading and listening to music, to swimming. His book, My Best Games of Chess, was published in the year 1998.
Anand maintains a low-profile, away from pomp and glamour; and spends his time on the game. He has endeared himself even to his opponents like Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, and Magnus Carlsen; and was helped by them while preparing for the World Chess Championship in 2010.
Written By: Raj Kumar Hansdah