The mind is one’s greatest weapon and our chess champion, Viswanathan Anand is the perfect example of it. A humble, unassuming, and prodigal boy etched his name in the history of chess and inspired generations to pursue the game. Before Viswanathan Anand, chess never received commercial attention and no Indian chess player received so much love and attention.
All Anand ever wanted to do was- play for fun and his passion which eventually made him the most-celebrated chess star. Today, in Vishwanathan Anand’s biography, we explore a myriad of facts about this chess champion.
Viswanathan Anand Biography
Date of Birth
11 December 1969
Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu
6 ( Current as per FIDE )
Krishnamurthy Viswanathan and Susheela
Early Life and Family Background
His father Krishnamurthy Viswanathan, was employed with the Southern Railways as a general manager. His mother, Susheela, is a homemaker. He has an elder brother and sister. Anand’s mother introduced him to chess. He developed a keen interest in the game and learnt the tricks of the trade from his mother.
A family friend, Deepa Ramakrishnan, also helped him in the initial stages of his career. By the time he finished his Bachelor of Commerce, he was already a National Champion. The early wins and tournaments took care of the financial aspects for Anand, which helped him tremendously in choosing his career path.
Anand married his wife Aruna in 1996. Initially, Aruna wasn’t well-versed with chess but soon learnt the game. Her support helped him achieve new heights in his career. Soon, she became his manager as well and started accompanying him to his tours. The couple was blessed with a son, Akhil Anand, in 2011.
Viswanathan Anand Chess Journey
Anand’s epic journey in the world of chess began in 1984 when he was just 15 and became the youngest International Master (IM). The next step was the National Championship. He won the title in 1986 and continued his winning spree till 1988.
In 1988, Anand became India’s first Grandmaster. It was a very special moment, not just for him, but for the entire country. He won the FIDE World Chess Championship and became the first Indian to do so. Losing the title in 2001, impacted Anand a lot. He explained how empty he felt in an interview with The Telegraph.
[Tweet ““Because within a year, I had lost my title. But I learnt a lot from that period. The second win came after six years. I lost my title at the end of 2001 and at the end of 2007, I became the world champion again. That was nice because I had had to persevere for it. I had to spend five or six years working on lots of things to get it back. This was a unified title again, so that was nice. I had started winning the title again in matches… not that I value these championships differently, but it’s for the record that you have covered every kind of format.””]
Also Read: Top Current Chess Players in India
World Chess Champion Anand
Viswanathan became the World Champion again in 2007 and thus began his domination. Anand defended the title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. At the World Chess Championship 2010, he defeated Veselin Topalov and held on to his title. His domination continued in 2012 as well, when he beat Boris Gelfand.
Unfortunately, he lost to Magnus Carlsen in 2013 and 2014. After dominating the game for years, Anand finally found an opponent who could match up to him. In a way, it was the end of the Anand era of chess. However, the champion has become almost synonymous with the game. By becoming India’s first Grandmaster, Anand heralded a new era in sports.
He started playing when a career in sports wasn’t considered a safe bet. On top of that, he chose an unconventional sport. And today, he was proven that the brain is our strongest weapon and biggest strength! Kudos to this legend for inspiring generations!
“He is a very controlled person. It is all about controlling your mind, that is what Anand can do at the highest level, and that is why he is Anand. I feel Anand is the greatest sportsman of India,” Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Indian chess grandmaster, told The Telegraph.
Interesting Facts about Viswanathan Anand
- In 2011, Viswanathan Anand won the Global Strategist Award by NASSCOM for mastering many formats of World Chess Championships.
- In 2014, the Russian government awarded him the Order of Friendship for the development of economic, scientific, and cultural ties with Russia.
- He also won the top country award by the Spanish embassy in 2015 for bringing glory to both India and Spain.
- Anand has won the Chess Oscar, a record six times- 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008.
- Kenzo Suzuki discovered a main-belt minor planet in 1988, which he decided to name “Vishy” after Viswanathan Anand on April 1, 2015.
- After his 2012 World Championship, Anand was awarded a reward of Rs. 2 crores by the Tamil Nadu government.
- Viswanathan is an avid sports lover and follows many sports like tennis, golf, and cricket. He regularly follows football and is a big fan of Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane is his long-time sporting icon.
- Bobby Fischer has always been his chess hero.
- Anand is fondly called as Vishy and Tiger of Madras.
- He is the first Indian sportsperson to win the award, Padma Vibhushan.
- Anand is well-versed with languages such as Spanish, French, and German.
- Anand has always impressed everyone with his quick thinking and fast moves. No wonder then that he earned the nickname “Lighting Kid.”
- Anand is a versatile reader and a big fan of astronomy. Did you know that he is a History buff as well? Truly an all-rounder!
- Anand also works as a Director for the foundation Olympic Gold Quest.
- He was the only sportsperson to attend the dinner hosted for Barack Obama in 2010.
- He is the brand ambassador of the institute NIIT.
- FIDE World Champion 2000
- FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion 2003
- World Champion 2007
- World Champion 2008
- World Champion 2010
- World Champion 2012
- World Championship 2013
- World Championship 2014
- FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion 2017
- Arjuna Award, 1985
- Padma Shri, 1987
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, 1992
- Padma Bhushan, 2000
- Padma Vibhushan, 2007
- National Citizens Award and Soviet Land Nehru Award, 1987
- Book of the Year, 1998 (For his book My Best Games of Chess)
- Chess Oscar, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008
- Sportstar Best Sportsperson of the Year, 1995
- Sportstar Millennium Award, 1998
Anand has always believed that if you find something you love, you will give your all to fulfil that dream. In order to be a champion, unparalleled hard work and dedication are required, and that can come only with passion.
“The importance of challenging your preconceptions, prejudices… extrapolating from chess… I can see there are things in chess that you need to correct. The importance of finding something that you really like doing. You cannot be a sportsperson for any other reason other than the fact that you like the sport”, Anand told The Telegraph.
Viswanathan Anand Net Worth
Viswanathan Anand’s net worth is approximately 47 crore rupees. He earns around 1 crore rupees through brand endorsements and his personal investments are up to 21 crores. The World Championship, which he has won numerous times, carries prize money of Rs. 16 crores.
His collection of luxury cars is valued to be around 2 crores. Anand’s car collection includes BMW and Range Rover. He owns a lavish house in Chennai. Viswanathan Anand’s prize money in 2013 was estimated to be $2 million. He is associated with brands like AMD India, Union Bank of India, Parle-G, Crocin, etc.
Also Read: Top 10 Richest Sportspersons in India
There's no better feeling in the world than being healthy. I will take the #IndiaStepsChallenge and walk 6000 steps daily for 100 days! Are you up for it? https://t.co/m8kzI40Ekt #AbChalegaIndia @geetssethi @viditchess @thearvindswami pic.twitter.com/3DByo3DDCj
— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) February 22, 2019
— Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) February 19, 2019
— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) February 14, 2019
Accepting tough times only way to deal with challenges, says Viswanathan Anand https://t.co/c91wzeStS1
— Viswanathan Anand (@vishy64theking) January 20, 2019
.@vishy64theking met new Grandmasters @DGukesh and @rpragchess. In his own words, “Was fun playing with them. Very quickly we started analysing games from Gibraltar and Wijk. What can I say! Was a proud moment watching them watching me.” Well, what can we say, too? Humbling! pic.twitter.com/q2UY2DwPGj
— Chennai Times (@ChennaiTimesTOI) February 5, 2019
Viswanathan Anand’s entire life story is an inspiration. Still, we would like to conclude with a Viswanathan Anand’s quote that resonates with every person:
“I think an important lesson from the game is that once you have made a move, you cannot take it back. You really have to measure your decisions. You think a lot. You evaluate your choices very carefully. There’s never any guarantee about what’s going to follow once you have made a decision.”
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