Vishwanathan Anand is the harbinger of chess in India. Without his maneuvers, it’s hard to imagine how chess would have advanced in the country. Every fire needs a spark, and the five-time world champion can solely be attributed to set off chess wildfire in India. He is a former World Chess Champion, the first chess icon from India, and is often regarded as the best rapid player of his generation. Let us find out some interesting facts about Viswanathan Anand:
1. Born To A Chess-Playing Mother!
Viswanathan Anand was born on December 11, 1969, in Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu. His father, Viswanathan Iyer, is a retired head of Southern Railways, and his mother, Susheela, was a Chess Player. He is the youngest of their 3 children and has a brother and a sister.
2. A Well-Educated Player
Anand did his schooling from the Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai and holds a degree in Bachelor of Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.
Source: Wikipedia, Image: forbesindia.com
3. His First Chess-Mentor!
His chess interest developed at the age of 6, mainly because of his mother and a family friend, Deepa Ramakrishnan. Anand learned the game from his mother.
Source: Wikipedia, Image: mid-day.com
4. “Tiger of Madras”
Anand is also known as “Vishy” and “Tiger of Madras;” because of his sheer domination in chess.
5. Youngest International Master!
At the age of 14, he tasted his first success at the National level by winning the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship in 1983. Next year, he became the youngest Indian to win the title of International Master, and a year later, he became the national chess champion and repeated it a couple more times.
Source: rediff.com, Image: wsj.net
6. India’s First Grandmaster
In 1987, he won the World Junior Chess Championship and was the first Indian to do it. And a year after became India’s 1st Grandmaster by winning the Shakti Finance International chess tournament in India.
Source: rediff.com, Image: Wikimedia
7. First Indian To Become World Champion
In 2000, Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship for the first time after defeating Alexei Shirov in the final match; held in Tehran and became the first Indian to win the title.
Source: livemint.com, Image: wikimedia.org
8. His Chess Idol
Anand attributes the late Bobby Fischer as the best chess player of all time.
9. Zenith Of Success
Anand has been making waves in the world of Chess since the mid-1980, he finally earned the No.1 ranking in the FIDE Elo rating in April 2007.
10. His Stats Say It All
Anand dominated World Chess from 2007 to 2013 and won the World Chess Championship 5 times. With the rating of 5th and 2817 points in 2875 games, he’s one of the greatest ever.
Source: chessgames.com, Image: youtube.com
11. And The Oscar Goes To…
Chess Oscar is an international award rewarded to the best chess player every year. He has won this award 6 times, in 1997, 1998, 2003, and 2004, 2007 & 2008.
Source: chessbase.com, Image: rediff.com
12. Anand, The Writer
Anand wrote a book titled ‘My Best Games of Chess,’ to share his journey of chess. In 1998, he got the British Chess Federation ‘Book of the Year’ award for this book.
13. The First Recipient Of India’s Highest Sports Award
Being such a brilliant Chess player, awards are bound to come. Anand was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri at the age of 18. Viswanathan was the first Indian sports player in history to get the Padma Vibhushan award in 2007. He was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991-92, India’s highest sporting honor.
Source: tnq.in, Image: photodivision.gov.in
14. A Marketing Brand
Anand has endorsed brands such as NIIT and has a net worth of around $3 million.
Source: Worldblaze.in, Image: wikimedia.org
15. Linguistic Intelligence
Apart from Tamil and English, he is also fluent in French, German, and Spanish languages.
16. “Lightning Kid”
For his rapid moves in the game of Chess, he got the nickname “Lightning Kid”.
Source: hindustantimes.com, GIF: giphy.com
17. Vishwanathan Anand: A Planet
A minor planet discovered in 1988 has been officially named “(4538) Vishyanand.”
Source: dnaindia.com, Image: bp.blogspot.com
18. Jack Of All Traits
Anand has a wide range of interests apart from Chess. He has also a keen interest in Astronomy, and a book on astronomy written by Carl Sagan from the United States is his all time favorite. He is a huge history buff too. Now, he is also fascinated by statistics.
19. Intuition Is His Best Trait
Call it intuition, a hunch, or a gut feeling- if we followed it, we just might be happier or a champion in Anand’s case. Vishwanathan Anand has admitted that intuition is his best trait.
Source: deccanchronicle.com, Image: goldenchess.in
20. One Of The Rare Legends
In April 2006, he passed the 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE rating list and became the fourth player to do so; after Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov.
21. The Only Sportsperson To Be Invited For….
On November 7, 2010, when the then US President Barack Obama was on a visit to India, Anand was the only sportsperson to be invited for the dinner hosted by the then Indian PM Manmohan Singh.
22. The Only Player To Have Won…
In the words of Lubomir Kavalek, a Czech-American chess player, Anand is the only player to have won the world chess championship in the tournament, match, and knockout format, as well as rapid time controls.