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23 June 2018
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Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand

Viswanathan Anand

Chess grandmaster

Viswanathan “Vishy” Anand is an Indian chess Grandmaster and a former World Chess Champion. Anand became India’s first grandmaster in 1988. He held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002.

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Born: December 11, 1969 (age 47 years), Mayiladuthurai, India

Nationality: Indian

Spouse: Aruna Anand (m. 1996)

World Champion: 2000–02 (FIDE); 2007–13

Awards: Padma Vibhushan, Chess Oscar.


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The living legend of Chess, Viswanathan Anand was born on December 11, 1969 in Chennai. His awesome speed has earned him the nickname “Lightning Kid.” In March 2007, Anand won the Morelia-Linares Super Grandmasters chess tournament. He showed his genius early on as a child when he won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship in 1983 at the age of fourteen.  In 1984, Anand went on to become the youngest Indian to win the International Master Title. He became the National Champion at the age of sixteen.

His winning spree continued when in 1987, he became the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship and the next year, he became India’s first Grandmaster. He qualified for the Professional Chess Association World Chess Championship final by beating the likes of Michael Adams and Gata Kamsky. At the age of 22, he won the Reggio Emilia, finished ahead of greats like Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. In 1995, he lost to Garry Kasparov in New York City’s World Trade Center. He achieved victories at Dortmund in 2004, the Corus chess tournament in 2006 and Linares in 2007. This Chess whizkid won the Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2004.

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Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 after defeating Alexei Shirov in the final match held in Teheran. In 2003, he won the World Rapid Chess Championship. In 2006, he became the fourth player in history to cross the 2800-mark in ELO ratings. Among the many awards he has won, mention may be made of the Arjuna award in 1985, the Padma Shri in 1987, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for the year 1991-1992 and the Padma Bhushan in 2000

Vishwanathan Anand has added another feather to his cap by winning the World Chess Championship in Moscow against Boris Gelfand of Israel giving a reason to his friends to rejoice once again. Having won the title previously in 2000, 2007, 2008 and 2010 and now in 2012 this was his fifth victory at the World Chess Championship where he was also the defending champion.

Childhood & Early Life

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Anand was born in Tamil Nadu into a Brahmin family. His father, Viswanathan Iyer worked with the Southern Railways while his mother Susheela was a housewife. Anand is the youngest of three siblings.

His mother was a big fan of chess and taught him to play the game when he was just five or six years old. She encouraged and motivated him a lot and this build the foundation for his future career as a chess player.

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In 1983 he won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship at the age of 14. By the time he was 16 he had become the national chess champion.

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 completed his schooling from Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School before enrolling at the Loyola College, Chennai.


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Full name: Viswanathan Anand

Nick Name: Vishy

Father’s name: Viswanathan Iyer

Mother’s name: Susheela

Playing for: India

Date of Birth: 11-12-1969

Place of Birth: Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Grandmaster Title: 1985

FIDE rating: 2817

Highest rating: 2817 in May 2011

Viswanathan Family 

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His sister Anuradha is 11 years older to him and brother Shivakumar is 13 years older to him. Vishwanathan Anand’s mother passed away at the age of 79, on May 26 2015. Sushila was a big chess enthusiast. She hailed from a family of lawyers that played chess. Vishy’s mother taught him the basic moves from the age of six, and nurtured him into a champion. She also helped and managed the career of her. She shaped up Vishy’s chess in his formative years. No doubt, Sushila Vishwanathan’s contribution towards her son’s success was immense. Shiva Kumar- Anand’s elder brother works as a manager at Crompton Greaves and Anuradha- his elder sister serves as a professor at the University of Michigan in the United States. Vishwanathan Anand is married to Aruna Anand. The couple has a 4-year-old son- named Akhil.


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  • He won the Reggio Emilia tournament in 1991. It is Italy’s most renowned tournament, and Anand at just 22 won it ahead of the greats like Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.
  • He tried to secure a place in the World Chess Championship 1993 where he qualified for his first Candidates Tournament. He, however, lost the quarter final match to Karpov.
  • In the PCA World Chess Championship 1995, he won the matches against Oleg Romanishin, Michael Adams and Gata Kamsky in the Candidates final. He played the finals against Garry Kasparov which he ultimately lost to the Russian legend.
  • Again in 1998, Anand cleared the candidates round by defeating Michael Adams in the final and faced the reigning champion Karpov in the World Chess Championship finals. Karpov had a psychological advantage over Anand and easily defended his title.
  • 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 looked forward to defending his title in 2002 though he lost in the semifinals to Russia’s Vassily Ivanchuk.
  • It would be many years before Anand would win the World Championship again. Playing at the championship in Mexico City in 2007, he won the double round-robin tournament to emerge as the only undefeated player in the tournament and won the championship.
  • Playing in the 2008 World Championship, he successfully defended his title against Kramnik, thus earning high praise from the legendary Garry Kasparov.
  • In the World Chess Championship 2010, he was challenged by Veselin Topalov for the title of the World Chess Champion. In spite of certain disruptions in the schedule, Anand went on to win the match and defend his title.
  • He faced Boris Gelfand, the winner of the 2011 Candidates Matches in the finals of the World Chess Championship 2012. During the finals, Anand won the last match in only 17 moves and retained his title.
  • In 2013 the defending champion Anand faced 22-year-old Magnus Carlsen who was the winner of the 2013 Candidates Tournament. Carlsen defeated Anand to become the new World Chess Champion.

Viswanathan Anand Achievements

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Notable tournament successes

  • 1989 2nd Asian Active Chess Championship, Hong Kong 1st
  • 1994 Melody Amber Tournament, Monaco 1st
  • 1994 PCA Grand Prix (Rapid), Moscow 1st
  • 1996 Credit Swiss Rapid Chess Grand Prix, Geneva 1st
  • 1996 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon
  • 1997 Melody Amber Tournament, Monaco 1st
  • 1997 Chess Classic Rapid Tournament, Frankfurt
  • 1998 Torneo Magistral Comunidad De Madrid, Madrid 1st
  • 1998 Siemens Nixdorf Duell (Rapid), Frankfurt 1st
  • 1999 Wydra Memorial Chess (Rapid), Haifa 1st
  • 1999 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon beat Karpov 5–1
  • 2000 Wydra International Tournament (Rapid), Haifa 1st
  • 2000 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon beat Shirov 1½–½
  • 2000 Fujitsu Siemens Giants Chess (Rapid), Frankfurt 1st
  • 2000 Corsica Masters (Rapid), Corsica 1st
  • 2002 Eurotel (Combined Rapid plus Classical), Prague 1st
  • 2011 Botvinnik Memorial, Moscow, 1st
  • 2011 Corsica Masters Knockout (Rapid), Corsica 1st
  • 2014 World Rapid Chess Championship (Rapid), Dubai 3rd

Other Honours

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  • National Citizens Award and Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987
  • British Chess Federation “Book of the Year” Award in 1998 for his book My Best Games of Chess.
  • Anand has won the Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. The Chess Oscar is awarded to the year’s best player according to a worldwide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists conducted by the Russian chess magazine 64.
  • Sportstar Millennium Award in 1998, from India’s premier Sports magazine for being the sportsperson of the millennium.
  • “Global Strategist Award” for Mastering many formats of World Chess Championships by NASSCOM in 2011.
  • Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa honored Anand with a cheque of Rs 2 crores, for winning the World Chess Championship for the fifth time.
  • In 2012, he received the “Indian sportsperson of the year” and “Indian of the year” awards.
  • In 2014 Anand was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship for the development of economic, scientific and cultural ties with Russia. The Order of Friendship was awarded to Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand, the participants in the FIDE World Chess Championship Match that was held at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in 2012.
  • In 2015 Anand was honored with the top country award at the Spanish embassy, Delhi on January 8.It is given to the eminent people of Indian origin who helped to bring glory to both India and Spain.
  • 4538 Vaishya and (provisional designation 1988 TP) is a main-belt minor planet. It was discovered by Kenzo Suzuki in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, on October 10, 1988.

Facts About Viswanathan Anand

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  • Anand became India’s first Grand Master. He achieved this foot 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 the Philippines, he developed his skill by solving the chess puzzle of the T.V program on chess.
  • 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.
  • He 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 Government.
  • 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.
  • 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 the tournament, match, and knockout. He has also won the rapid time controls.

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