|Viswanathan Anand Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 9 in|
|Date of Birth||December 11, 1969|
Viswanathan Anand is an Indian chess player who has won the World Chess Championship 5 times (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012), the World Rapid Chess Championship twice (2003, 2017), and the World Blitz Chess Championship once (2000). Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, the greatest Indian player of all time, and the greatest rapid (chess format) player of his generation, he is universally acknowledged as the talisman who turned the fortunes of chess around in India. In 1985, he became the youngest Indian to achieve the title of International Master, aged just 15. The Government of India honored him with the Arjuna Award (the 2nd-highest sporting honor in India) that year. In 1988, at the age of 18, he became India’s first chess Grandmaster. The Government of India honored him with the Padma Shri (the 4th-highest civilian honor in India) that year. The influence of his performance on the international stage was such that India went on to produce 71 more Grandmasters by November 2021, becoming the 5th-best in this aspect in the world (only behind Russia, United States, Germany, and Ukraine). As of May 2022, Anand was the only player to have won the World Chess Championship in the tournament, match, and knockout formats, as well as rapid time controls.
Vishy, Lightning Kid, Tiger of Madras
Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Anand had attended the Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Egmore, Chennai. After his high school graduation, he joined Loyola College, a private Catholic higher education institution in Chennai. He had graduated from there with a B. Com. (Bachelor of Commerce) degree.
- Father – Krishnamurthy Viswanathan (Former General Manager of Southern Railways, one of the 18 zones of Indian Railways, a statutory body under the ownership of the Government of India that operates India’s national railway system) (d. April 15, 2021)
- Mother – Sushila Viswanathan (Socialite) (d. May 27, 2015)
- Siblings – Anuradha Anand (Older Sister) (Former Professor at the University of Michigan), Shivakumar Anand (Older Brother) (Former Manager at Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals, an Indian electrical equipment company)
Viswanathan Anand’s net worth had been $3 million according to CelebrityNetWorth.com.
5 ft 9 in or 175 cm
76 kg or 167.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Anand has dated –
- Aruna Anand (1996–Present) – Anand got married to Aruna in 1996 in a ceremony held in Chennai. They have a son together named Akhil Anand (b. April 9, 2011).
Race / Ethnicity
- Mildly stocky frame
- Short-cropped, side-parted hair
- Cheerful smile
- Clean-shaven look
Anand has been sponsored by –
- NIIT (an Indian multinational skills and talent development corporation)
- InstaForex (a multinational electronic communication network company that provides online trading services for the international financial market)
Viswanathan Anand Facts
- Shortly after his birth in Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu, Anand’s family moved to the state capital of Chennai (then known as Madras) where he was raised.
- When he was 6 years old, his mother, a chess aficionado, began teaching him chess. He learned the finer skills of chess in Manila, though, where he lived with his parents from 1978 through the 1980s. The family had moved there because his father was contracted as a consultant by the Philippine National Railways, a state-owned railway company in the Philippines, at that time.
- During the late 1980s and the early 1990s, he had earned the nickname ‘Lightning Kid’ because of his playing speed. Like his playing speed, his rise in the chess world was swift. He won the sub-junior national championship with a score of 9/9 in 1983, aged 14. The following year, he won the Asian Junior Championship.
- In 1985 he clinched the Asian Junior Championship for the 2nd year in a row. At the age of 16, he became the national chess champion and won that title 2 more times. In 1987, he became the first Indian player to win the World Junior Chess Championship.
- He holds the record of being the first player to have won 5 titles (1989, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006) at the prestigious Corus Chess Tournament (now known as the Tata Steel Chess Tournament). He also holds the record of being the 1st player to have won each of the ‘Big Three’ super tournaments at that time at least once – the Corus Chess Tournament in 1989, Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting in 1996 (also won in 2000 and 2004), and the Linares International Chess Tournament in 1998 (also won in 2007 and 2008).
- He was the inaugural recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (now known as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award) (the highest sporting honor in India) in the 1991–92 consideration period.
- At the annual Melody Amber Tournament (2 separate and unique Blindfold and Rapid Chess super tournaments played), he had won 5 overall titles (1994, 1997, 2003, 2005, and 2006), and the most number of ‘rapid play’ titles (9) (as of May 2022). He was also the first player to win the blind and rapid sections of the tournament in the same year (1997), a feat that he repeated in 2005.
- In 1997, he won the Mainz Chess Classic, a Category 21 championship, for the first time in his career. He repeated the feat in 1998 and then won the title 9 years in a row (2000-2008) for a record total of 11 titles.
- He had won the Chess Oscar, a now-defunct international award presented annually to the best chess player in the world 6 times (1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008). Only Garry Kasparov (11 times) and Anatoly Karpov (9) had won this award more times than Anand. The winner of the award used to be selected through a worldwide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists.
- He also clinched 3 consecutive Advanced Chess tournaments in Spain and is widely recognized as the world’s best player of Advanced Chess, a format introduced by Garry Kasparov in 1998 where players may consult a computer to aid in their calculation of variations.
- In 1998, he published a book titled My Best Games of Chess which was updated in 2001. The British Chess Federation honored it with the ‘Book of the Year’ Award in 1998.
- The Government of India honored him with the Padma Bhushan (the 3rd-highest civilian honor in India) in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan (the 2nd-highest civilian honor in India) in 2008. He was the first sportsperson ever to receive the latter award.
- In April 2006, Anand became just the 4th chess player in history (after Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov, and Garry Kasparov) to pass the elusive 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) rating list. As of May 2022, only 10 other players had managed this rare feat – Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Wesley So, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Hikaru Nakamura, Ding Liren, Alexander Grischuk, and Alireza Firouzja.
- Anand achieved the number 1 position in the world for the first time in April 2007 in the FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) world chess rankings. He occupied the slot for 21 months, the sixth-longest period (as of May 2022) on record. That year, he had also co-authored a book titled My Life in Chess.
- A highly affable and well-liked figure in the chess fraternity, he was aided in his preparations for the 2010 World Chess Championship by chess giants Kasparov, Kramnik, and Carlsen, all of whom were Anand’s rivals for the World Chess Championship at some point in his career (Kasparov in 1995, Kramnik in 2008, and Carlsen in 2013 and 2014).
- In August 2010, he joined the board of directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation committed to promoting and supporting India’s elite sportspersons and potential young talent.
- In December of that year, he was the guest of honor on the grounds of Gujarat University where 20,486 people created a world record of simultaneous chess play at a single venue. A month before this, he was the only sportsperson invited to the dinner event that was hosted by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for US President Barack Obama.
- His peak rating of 2817 (achieved in March 2011) is the joint-8th highest (tied with Kramnik) in history (as of May 2022) and the only players to have achieved a greater rating than this (as of May 2022) were Vachier-Lagrave (2819), Mamedyarov (2820), So (2822), Aronian (2830), Caruana (2844), Kasparov (2851), and Carlsen (2882).
- In 2014, he was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship; a state decoration of the Russian Federation to reward Russian and foreign nationals whose work, deeds, and efforts have been aimed at the betterment of relations with the Russian Federation and its people.
- In April 2015, a main-belt minor planet that was discovered by Kenzo Suzuki in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, on October 10, 1988, was named 4538 Vishyanand (provisional designation 1988 TP) after him.
- In 2019, he co-authored a book titled Mind Master: Winning Lessons from a Champion’s Life.
- In June 2021, Anand and fellow Indian Grandmasters Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli, Nihal Sarin, and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu participated in a charity event called Checkmate COVID to support COVID-19 relief efforts in India. They played online matches against 100 opponents on the Chess.com platform. This initiative had raised more than USD 50k.
- As of May 2022, he was rated 2751 on the FIDE rating list which made him the highest-rated Indian player, the 2nd-highest rated in Asia, and the 14th highest-rated active player in the world. This was despite the fact that he had greatly reduced his participation in major chess tournaments since 2019.
- His hobbies/interests include reading, swimming, and listening to music.
- His parents had named him quite prophetically. Viswanathan translates to ‘Lord/Ruler of the World’ which came to fruition in 2007 when he became the undisputed world champion. ‘Anand’ means happiness/joy which is reflected in his affable and jovial personality as well as in the joy he brought to chess lovers in India and across the world with his dynamic gameplay.
Featured Image by Viswanathan Anand / Instagram