Viswanathan "Vishy" Anand is a former World Chess Champion, who is the fourth player in the history to pass the 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE rating list. Here are 50 facts about the champion
(Photo : Clemens Bilan/Getty Images for World Chess by Agon Limited) Viswanathan Anand attends the opening ceremony of the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship and the special screening of 'Pawn Sacrifice' (german title: Bauernopfer - Spiel der Koenige) at Kino International on October 9, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.
Anand became India’s first Grand Master. He achieved this feet in the year 1988, as an 18 year old. He was awarded the ‘Padma Shri’ by the Indian Government in recognition.
Anand was born on December 11, 1969, in Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu, India.
He is the youngest of three children to ‘Viswanathan,’ and ‘Susheela.’ His father is a retired General Manager of Southern Railways and his mother is a housewife.
He has a brother Sivakumar, 13 years older than him and a sister Anuradha, 11 years elder.
He was introduced to chess by his mother at the age of six. Subsequently when they moved to Philippines, he developed his skill by solving the chess puzzle of the T.V program on chess.
(Photo : Francois Nel/Getty Images) Viswanathan Anand of India plays in the FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships 2014 at Dubai Chess and Culture Club on June 19, 2014 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Anand did his schooling at ‘Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School,’ Egmore, Chennai. He holds a degree in commerce from ‘Loyola College, Chennai.’
He is one of the Directors of ‘Olympic Gold Quest,’ a foundation for supporting potential young talent and promoting India’s elite sportsperson.
Anand was initially denied honorary doctorate from ‘University of Hyderabad,’ over his citizenship status. After the intervention from the Minister of Human Resource Development, he was offered the doctorate, which Anand declined.
On November 07, 2010, when a dinner was hosted by the Indian government in honor of visiting U.S. President ‘Barack Obama,’ Anand was the only sportsperson to be invited.
Anand has been regarded as unassuming and not a one to play politics. During 1986 ‘National A Tournament,’ all the players boycotted in protest over playing condition, except Anand, a national champion by then.
(Photo : JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images) Indian chess player Vishy Anand prepares to make a move during his match against British chess player Michael Adams during the London Chess Classic tournament, part of the Grand Chess Tour 2015, in London on December 4, 2014.
His is married to Aruna. They have a son Akhil born on April 09, 2011.
Anand’s rise to prominence came, when he won the ‘National Sub-Junior Chess Championship’ in 1983. He was 14 years of age.
He earned his ‘International Master Norm,’ when he won the ‘Asian Junior Championship’ in Coimbatore.
He became the youngest Indian to achieve the title of ‘International Master,’ when he won the ‘Asian Junior Chess Championship’ for the second time in 1985.
He was awarded ‘Arjuna Award’ as an outstanding sports person in chess in 1985 by Indian Govenment.
By the age of sixteen, Anand became a ‘National Champion.’ He went on to win it two more times.
In 1987, Anand was crowned the ‘World Junior Champion.’ He is the first Indian to do so.
The highest sporting honor in India the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award’ was awarded to him in 1992.
Anand qualified for his first ‘Candidates Tournament’ in 1993, to determine the challenger for the world Chess championship. He lost to ‘Anatoly Karpov’ in the quarter finals.
In the 1995 PCA Cycle, Anand won the candidates final against ‘Gata Kamsky,’ and qualified to challenge ‘Kasparov’ for the ‘PCA World Championship.’ He eventually lost the final 10.5 to 7.5, after series of record breaking draws.
In the year 1998 Anand published a book titled ‘My Best Games of Chess.’ Same year this book won the ‘British Chess Federation Book of the Year.’
Anand won his first ‘FIDE World Chess Championship’ in the year 2000. He beat ‘Alexei Shirov’ 3.5-.5, in the final. He is the first Indian to win the title.
In the year 2003, ‘FIDE’ the World Chess Federation organized ‘World Rapid Chess Championship.’ Anand won the inaugural tournament by defeating Kramnik in the final.
(Photo : Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images) Indian chess world champion Viswanathan Anand concentrates during his match against the Russian chess grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik on October 17, 2008 in Bonn, Germany.
He again won the ‘FIDE World Chess Championship’ in 2007. Unlike in 2000, now he was undisputed champion after the unification ‘FIDE’ and ‘PCA.’
He was a supporter of double round robin format to determine the champion rather than right of past champion to automatically challenge for title.
Anand defended his ‘World Chess Championship’ title in 2008 at ‘Berlin,’ when he beat ‘Kramnik’ by scoring 6.5 points out of 12 games.
Anand donated his gold medal to charitable organization ‘The Foundation,’ to be auctioned off, for cause of underprivileged children.
Anand travelled 40 hours by road for his ‘2010 World Chess Championship’ after his request for postponement was rejected by the ‘Bulgarian’ organizers.
He retained the title by defeating ‘Veselin Topalov’ in Sofia, Bulgaria. Anand won the final game to win the match 6.5 to 5.5 points.
Anand lost his title defense of ‘2013 World Chess Championship’ to ‘Magnus Carlsen,’ which was played at ‘Chennai,’ his home town.
(Photo : Qamar Sibatin/India Today Group/Getty Images) India chess Champion Viswanathan Anand at India today Conclave 2015.
Anand won the double round robin ‘FIDE Candidates Tournament’ and the right to challenge ‘Magnus Carlsen’ for the world championship. He lost the championship match 4.5 to 6.5 in favor of Carlsen.
Anand won the ‘Advanced Chess” tournament, wherein each player teams up with computer chess program. He won this event in 1999, 2000 and 2001, in succession.
He achieved the top rank for the first time in ‘2007 FIDE Elo rating list.’ He held number one spot in all rating list. He was awarded ‘Padma Vibhusan’ the second highest civilian award by Indian Government in 2007.
Anand has won the ‘Chess Oscar’ award six times. This is awarded to year’s best player by a Russian Magazine.
Anand is the only player to have won the ‘world Chess Championship’ in various formats such as tournament, match and knockout. He has also won the rapid time controls.
Anand is considered by FIDE President, ‘Kirsan Llyumzhinov,’ as one of the greatest and strongest player of modern times.
When ‘Michael Rudenko’ of ‘International Astronomical Union’ was asked to name a minor planet (4538), he named it ‘Vishyanand,’ after Viswanathan Anand.
Anand was chosen as the ‘CNN-IBN Indian of the Year 2012’ along with Indian Sports person of the year by the Indian media house,’CNN-IBN.’
Anand is sometime called as ’Tiger of Madras,’ ‘Vishy’ or ‘lightning Kid,’ for he played chess in blitz speed.
He resides in Collado Mediano, Spain and plays chess tournament eight months in the year.
Anand is the brand ambassador for the educational institute ‘NIIT’ for the past 14 years.
The state of ‘Tamil Nadu’ came out with a booklet in honor Anand detailing his achievements from 1986 to 2012. He was presented with reward of Rs 2 crore for his achievements.
(Photo : Carl Court/Getty Images) Super-grandmaster Vishy Anand makes a move against British chess champion Michael Adams in an opening game at the London Chess Classic tournament on December 4, 2015 in London, England. As well as a British knockout championship, the tournament will see nine super-grandmasters compete in the final leg of the Grand Chess Tour.
After winning his ‘2012 World Chess Championship’ against ‘Boris Gelfand’ of Israel, he was invited by ‘Russian’ President ‘Vladimir Putin’ for tea. Anand learned his early lesson on chess in Soviet Cultural Centre at Chennai.
The same year he was honored along with Gelfand with “Order of Friendship” award by Russia for developing scientific, cultural and economic ties with them.
The eighth game of the 2012 world chess championship was won by Anand in 17 moves. The shortest game in championship history.
He believes Bobby Fischer to be the greatest chess player of all time. Ironically he doesn’t find a place in his own list of top 10 chess players.
He played against 40 chess wizards simultaneously and won against 39 of them at the International Congress of Mathematicians 2010 held in Hyderabad. 14 year old Srikar forced a draw from Anand.
(Photo : Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images) Five-time Indian World Chess Champion and National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) Mind Champion Viswanathan Anand address media persons during a business conference Program in business analytics on April 16, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Anand discussed the advantages of chess in advancing analytics relevant to business.
Apart from chess he has an avid interest in astronomy and outer space. He regards Cosmos, a book on astronomy as his all time favorite written by Carl Sagan of US.
He was also honored with Global Strategist Award by NASSCOM in 2011 for mastering all formats of World Chess Championship.
Leading sports magazine Sportstar awarded him with “Sportstar Millennium Award” in 1998 for being sportsperson of the millennium.