Vishwanathan Anand

Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu, India is an Indian chess Grandmaster and the current World Chess Champion. He held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the world title was split.

He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. He then successfully defended his title in the World Chess Championship 2010 against Veselin Topalov. As the reigning champion, he will face the winner of the Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Championship 2012. Anand is one of six players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE rating list, and in April 2007 at the age of 37, he became the world number-one for the first time. He was at the top of the world rankings five out of six times, from April 2007 to July 2008, holding the number-one ranking for a total of 15 months.

In October 2008, he dropped out of the world top three ranking for the first time since July 1996. Anand officially regained the world number one ranking on November 1, 2010, after having defeated the reigning world #1 Magnus Carlsen in the Bilbao Masters. Anand became India’s first grandmaster in 1987. He was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India’s highest sporting honor. In 2007, he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award in Indian history.

Today he remains one of elite chess players in the world. Anand has been described by Lubomir Kavalek as the most versatile world champion ever, since Anand is the only player to have won the world chess championships in many formats including Knockout, Tournament, Match, Rapid and Blitz.

Personal life

Anand was born on 11 December 1969 in Mayiladuthurai, a small town in Tamil Nadu, India in a Tamil Iyer (South Indian Brahmin) family. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to Chennai, erstwhile Madras, where he grew up. [4] His father, Viswanathan Iyer, is a retired General Manager of Southern Railways, and his mother Susheela, housewife and chess/film/club aficionado and an influential socialite.

He has an elder brother, Shivakumar who is a manager at Crompton Greaves in India and an elder sister Anuradha who is a teacher at the University of Michigan.  Anand is 11 years younger than his sister and 13 years younger than his brother. He was taught to play chess by his mother. He described his start in chess in a conversation with Susan Polgar: I started when I was six. My mother taught me how to play. In fact, my mother used to do a lot for my chess. We moved to the Philippines shortly afterward. I joined the club in India and we moved to the Philippines for a year.

And there they had a TV program that was on in the afternoon, one to two or something like that, when I was in school. So she would write down all the games that they showed and the puzzles, and in the evening we solved them together. Of course my mother and her family used to play some chess, and she used to play with her younger brother, so she had some background in chess, but she never went to a club or anything like that. So we solved all these puzzles and sent in our answers together. And they gave the prize of a book to the winner. And over the course of many months, I won so many prizes.

At one point they just said take all the books you want, but don’t send in any more entries. Anand did his schooling in Don Bosco, Egmore, Chennai and holds a degree in commerce from Loyola College, Chennai. His hobbies are reading, swimming, and listening to music. He is married to Aruna Anand and lives in Collado Mediano in Spain. In August 2010, Anand joined Board of Directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation for promoting and supporting the India’s elite sportspersons and potential young talent. Chess career Early career 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 title at the age of fifteen, in 1984. At the age of sixteen he became the national chess champion and won that title two more times. He played games at blitz speed. 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 by winning Shakti Finance International chess tournament held in Coimbatore, India.

He was awarded Padma Shri at the age of 18. Anand at the Manila Olympiad 1992, age 22 “Vishy”, as he is sometimes called by his friends, 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, and he continued to play games at blitz speed. In the World Chess Championship 1993 cycle Anand qualified for his first Candidates Tournament, winning his first match but narrowly losing his quarter-final match to Anatoly Karpov. In 1994–95 Anand and Gata Kamsky dominated the qualifying cycles for the rival FIDE and PCA world championships. In the FIDE cycle (FIDE World Chess Championship 1996), Anand lost his quarter-final match to Kamsky after leading early.

Kamsky went on to lose the 1996 FIDE championship match against Karpov. In the 1995 PCA cycle, Anand won matches against Oleg Romanishin and Michael Adams without a loss, then avenged his FIDE loss by defeating Gata Kamsky in the Candidates final. 14] In 1995, he played the PCA World Chess Championship 1995 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 with a powerful exchange sacrifice, but then lost four of the next five. He lost the match 10? –7?. In the 1998 FIDE cycle, the reigning champion Karpov was granted direct seeding by FIDE into the final against the winner of the seven-round single elimination Candidates tournament.

The psychological and physical advantage gained by Karpov from this decision caused significant controversy, leading to the withdrawal of future World Champion Vladimir Kramnik from the candidates tournament. Anand won the candidates tournament, defeating Michael Adams in the final, and immediately faced a well-rested Karpov for the championship. Despite this tremendous disadvantage for Anand, which he described as being “brought in a coffin” to play Karpov, Anand was able to draw the regular match 3-3, forcing a rapid playoff. However, the rapid playoff was won 2-0 by Karpov, allowing him to defend his FIDE

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