Viswanathan Anand Biography

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Viswanathan Anand Biography

Viswanathan Anand was born in Chennai, India on 11th December 1969. He started playing chess at the age of 6.His father, Viswanathan Iyer, is a retired General Manager of Southern Railways, and his mother Susheela, He learnt chess from his mother. His parents encouraged him and used to take him to the Tal Chess club. Young Anand had an exceptional memory power and an ability to grasp things fast which made him excel in Chess.

Anand got his B.Com degree from Loyola College. He has won many titles even from a young age. He was the youngest Asian to win the International Master’s Title at the age of fifteen. At sixteen he became the National Champion; At eighteen India’s First Grandmaster.

Anand’s wife Aruna supports him in his preparations for the tournaments. This genius, although he has achieved so much still remains simple in character. He wrote a book ‘My Best Games of Chess’ for which he got the British Chess Federation ‘Book of the Year’ Award in 1998.

Anand’s rise in the Indian chess world was meteoric. National level success came early for him when he won the National Sub – Junior Chess Championship with a score of 9 / 9 in 1983 at the age of fourteen. He became the youngest Indian to win the International Master’s Title at the age of fifteen, in 1984. At the age of sixteen he became the National Champion and won that title two more times. He played games at blitz speed, earning him the nickname “Lightning Kid” ( “Blitz chess” is known in India as “Lightning chess” ). In 1987, he became the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship. In 1988, at the age of eighteen, he became India’s First Grandmaster.

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“Vishy”, as he is sometimes called, burst upon the upper echelons of the chess scene in the early 1990s, winning such tournaments as Reggio Emilia 1991 ( ahead of Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov ). Playing at such a high level did not slow him down either, and he continued to play games at blitz speed. In 1991, he lost in a tie-breaker to Anatoly Karpov in the quarter finals of the FIDE Knockout World Chess Championship.

Viswanathan Anand qualified for the Professional Chess Association World Chess Championship final by winning the candidates matches against Michael Adams and Gata Kamsky. In 1995, he played a title match against Kasparov in New York City’s World Trade Center. After an opening run of eight draws ( a record for the opening of a world championship match ), Anand won game nine using a splendid sacrifice on the queen side, but then lost four of the next five. He lost the match 10.5 – 7.5.

Anand won three consecutive Advanced Chess tournaments in Leon, Spain after Garry Kasparov introduced this form of chess in 1998, and is widely recognized as the world’s best Advanced Chess player, where humans may consult a computer to aid in their calculation of variations.

Viswanathan Anand’s recent tournament successes include the prestigious Corus chess tournament in years 2003 and 2004 and Dortmund in 2004. He has won the annually held Monaco Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Championships in years 1994, 1997, 2003 and 2005.

Anand has won the Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003, and 2004. His four Oscars ties him with Kasparov for the most ever, one better than Fischer’s three. The Chess Oscar is awarded to the year’s best player according to a world – wide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists conducted by the Russian chess magazine 64.

Viswanathan Anand’s game collection, My Best Games of Chess, was published in the year 1998 and was updated in 2001.

After several near misses, Anand finally won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 after defeating Alexei Shirov 3.5 – 0.5 in the final match held at Teheran, thereby becoming the first Indian to win that title. He lost the title to Ruslan Ponomariov in 2002.

He became shared second in the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005 ( together with Peter Svidler ) with 8.5 points out of 14 games, lagging 1.5 points behind the winner, Veselin Topalov.

In October 2003, the governing body of chess, FIDE, organized a rapid time control tournament in Cap d’Agde and billed it as the World Rapid Chess Championship. Each player had 25 minutes at the start of the game, with an additional 10 seconds after each move. Anand won this event ahead of ten of the other top twelve players in the world with Kasparov being the only missing player. Anand is still deservedly considered to be the world’s finest Rapid Chess player.He has consistently won almost all rapid events defeating many top players and his main achievements in this Category are at : Corsica , Leon , Amber events where he dominated almost all elite players .

He then successfully defended his title in the World Chess Championship 2010 against Veselin Topalov. As the reigning champion, he is currently facing Boris Gelfand, the winner of the Candidates Tournament, for the World Chess Championship 2012.

Chess titles

  • 1983 National Sub – Junior Chess Champion – age 14
  • 1984 International Master – age 15
  • 1985 Indian National Champion – age 16
  • 1987 World Junior Chess Champion, Grandmaster
  • 2000 FIDE World Chess Champion
  • 2003 FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion


  • 1985 Arjuna award for Outstanding Indian Sportsman in Chess
  • 1987 Soviet Land Nehru Award, for appreciation of outstanding services rendered to the cause of peace and friendship.
  • 1987 Padma Shri, youngest ever recipient
  • 1987 National Citizens Award, for distinctive contribution in the field of Chess.
  • 1988 Shri Rajiv Gandhi Award Outstanding sports person – Presented during the Great Freedom Run to mark the 40th Anniversary of India‚Äôs Independence.
  • 1988 “Kala Praveena” Conferred Doctorate ( Honoris Causa ) From the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad
  • 1991 – 92 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, first ever recipient
  • 1995 K K Birla Award, person of the year
  • 1997 Chess ” Oscar” Best Chess Player of 1997
  • 1998 British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award, award presented for “Vishy Anand – My Best Games of Chess.”
  • 1998 Chess ” Oscar” Best Chess Player of 1998
  • 1998 Sportstar Millenium Award, from India’s premier Sports magazine for being the sportperson of the millenium
  • 2000 Padma Bhushan, for being the first Asian to win the World Championship
  • 2003 Chess ” Oscar” Best Chess Player of 2003
  • 2004 Chess ” Oscar” Best Chess Player of 2004
  • 2007 Chess ” Oscar” Best Chess Player of 2007
  • 2007 CNN IBN Sportsperson Of The Year
  • 2008 Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India, for his World Championship Title and No.1 World Ranking
  • 2008 NDTV Indian Sportsperson Of The Year.
  • The inaugural Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sporting honour in the year 1991 – 1992.
  • British Chess Federation ‘Book of the Year’ Award in 1998 for his book My Best Games of Chess
  • Chess Oscar ( 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2004 ).

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