Viswanathan Anand | The Grandmaster of India

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His Life: The Lightning Kid

  • Year 1969 – Born in Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu.
  • Year 1983 – Won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship.
  • Year 1987 – Became the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship.
  • Year 1988 – Became India’s first Grandmaster at the age of 18.
  • Year 1985 – Won the Arjuna Award for Outstanding Indian Sportsman in Chess.
  • Year 2007 – Received the Padma Vibhushan.

“In chess, knowledge is a very transient thing. It changes so fast that even a single mouse-slip sometimes changes the evaluation.”

Viswanathan Anand is an Indian Chess player of the international repute. He is the five-time winner of the World Chess Championship. He is known as the Indian Chess Grandmaster. He is one of the two persons to have won the Classical, Rapid, and Blitz World Championships and the only one to have won the world championship playing in the Match, Tournament and Knockout formats. He is considered as the world’s best Advanced Chess player, a form of the game where a player uses a computer.

Childhood

Anand was born in a Tamil Brahmin family, on December 11, 1969 in Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu. His father Krishnamurthy Viswanathan worked as the general manager of Southern Railways and his mother Sushila was a housewife, chess aficionado and an influential socialite. He is the youngest of the three siblings.

Personal Life

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He has completed his schooling from the Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Egmore, Chennai and his graduation from the Loyola College, Chennai. He is a very focused minded person and respected by his former chess rivals. He has stayed away from even a single controversy. He married Aruna in 1996 and has one son named Akhil, who was born on April 9, 2011.

Career Journey

His mother taught him to play chess at the age of six. Anand’s mother’s encouragement to teach him chess paved his career path. At the young age of 14, he won the 1983 National Sub-Junior Chess Championship. He won the World Junior Chess Championship in 1987 and became the first Indian to do so. He became India’s first Grandmaster in 1988 when he was just 18. He won the Reggio Emilia Tournament in 1991. It is Italy’s most renowned tournament.

The year 2000 was a good one for Anand. He played in the World Chess Championship and won his first title after several years of near-hits. He beat Alexei Shirov to clinch the World Chess Championship. He won the World Championship again, playing in the championship in Mexico City in 2007. Then back to back in 2008, 2010, 2011 he has defended the title on and off for five times.

In 1998, he published a collection of his games, Vishy Anand: My Best Games of Chess and updated it in 2001. The book won the British Chess Federation “Book of the Year” Award in 1998.

Awards and Recognition

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He has received a ton of awards some of them are – Arjuna Award for Outstanding Indian Sportsman in Chess in 1985, Padma Shri – Fourth highest civilian award given by the Government of India in 1987, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award – India’s highest sporting honor in the year 1991, Padma Bhushan – Third highest civilian award in 2000, Padma Vibhushan – Second-highest civilian award in 2007, among numerous others.

Later Life

Anand is a member of the board of directors of Olympic Gold Quest (from 2010), a foundation for promoting and supporting India’s elite sportspersons and potential young talent. Anand was the only sportsperson to be invited for the dinner hosted by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for US President Barack Obama on November 7, 2010. He is still playing chess tournaments and we hope that he will never retire.

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