|Real Name:||Viswanathan “Vishy” Anand|
|Profession:||Indian chess grandmaster|
|Birthplace:||Madras, Tamil Nadu, India|
Viswanathan “Vishy” Anand (born 11 December 1969) is an Indian chess grandmaster and a five-time world chess champion. He became the first grandmaster from India in 1988 and is one of the few players to have surpassed an Elo rating of 2800, a feat he first achieved in 2006.
Anand defeated Alexei Shirov in a six-game match to win the 2000 FIDE World Chess Championship, a title he held until 2002. He became the undisputed world champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010, and Boris Gelfand in 2012. In 2013, he lost the title to challenger Magnus Carlsen, and he lost a rematch to Carlsen in 2014 after winning the 2014 Candidates Tournament.
In April 2006, Anand became the fourth player in history to pass the 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE rating list, after Kramnik, Topalov, and Garry Kasparov. He occupied the number one position for 21 months, the sixth-longest period on record.
Known for his rapid playing speed as a child, Anand earned the sobriquet “Lightning Kid” during his early career in the 1980s. He has since developed into a universal player, and many consider him his generation’s greatest rapid chess player. He won the FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship in 2003 and 2017, the World Blitz Cup in 2000, and numerous other top-level rapid and blitz events.
Anand was 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.
Viswanathan Anand Biography
11 December 1969
Madras, Tamil Nadu, India
|Awards||Padma Vibhushan (2007), Padma Bhushan (2001), Padma Shri (1987)|
|World Champion||2000–2002 (FIDE)
|FIDE rating||2751 (May 2022)|
|Peak rating||2817 (March 2011)|
|Ranking||No. 14 (May 2022)|
|Peak ranking||No. 1 (April 2007)|
Table of Contents
Early life (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Viswanathan Anand was born on 11 December 1969 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, where he grew up. His father, Krishnamurthy Viswanathan, a retired general manager of Southern Railways, had studied in Jamalpur, Bihar, and his mother, Sushila, was a housewife, chess aficionado, and an influential socialite.
Anand is the youngest of three children. He is 11 years younger than his sister and 13 years younger than his brother. His brother, Shivakumar, is a manager at Crompton Greaves in India. His sister, Anuradha, is a professor at the University of Michigan.
Anand started learning chess at age six from his mother but learned the intricacies of the game in Manila where he lived with his parents from 1978 through the ’80s while his father was contracted as a consultant by the Philippine National Railways.
Anand was educated at Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Egmore, Chennai, and has a Bachelor of Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.
Personal life (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Anand married Aruna in 1996 and has a son, born on 9 April 2011, named in the traditional patronymic way Anand Akhil.
Anand is a Hindu and has stated that he visits temples to enjoy the tranquility and joy they symbolize. He has credited his daily prayers with helping him achieve a “heightened state of mind” that helps him focus better when playing chess.
In August 2010, Anand joined the board of directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation for promoting and supporting India’s elite sportspersons and potential young talent. On 24 December 2010, he was the guest of honor on the grounds of Gujarat University, where 20,486 players created a new world record for simultaneous chess play at a single venue.
His hobbies are reading, swimming, and listening to music.
Anand has been regarded as an unassuming person with a reputation for refraining from political and psychological ploys and instead focusing on his game. This has made him a well-liked figure throughout the chess world for two decades, evidenced by the fact that Kasparov, Kramnik, and Carlsen, all of whom were rivals for the world championship during Anand’s career, each aided him in his preparations for the 2010 World Chess Championship. Anand is sometimes known as the “Tiger of Madras”.
Anand was the only sportsperson invited to the dinner Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted for US President Barack Obama on 7 November 2010.
Anand was denied an honorary doctorate from the University of Hyderabad because of confusion over his citizenship status; India’s Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal later apologized and said, “There is no issue on the matter as Anand has agreed to accept the degree at a convenient time depending on his availability”. According to The Hindu, Anand finally declined to accept the doctorate.
On 15 April 2021, Anand’s father died at the age of 92.
Anand is sponsored by NIIT and Instaforex.
Early chess career (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Anand’s rise in the Indian chess world was meteoric. National success came early for him when he won the sub-junior championship with a score of 9/9 points in 1983, at age 14. In 1984 Anand won the Asian Junior Championship in Coimbatore, earning an International Master (IM) norm in the process. Soon afterward, he participated in the 26th Chess Olympiad, in Thessaloniki, where he made his debut on the Indian national team. There, Anand scored 7½ points in 11 games, gaining his second IM norm. In 1985 he became the youngest Indian to achieve the title of International Master, at age 15, by winning the Asian Junior Championship for the second year in a row, this time in Hong Kong. At age 16, he became the national chess champion. He 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 age 18, he became India’s first grandmaster by winning the Shakti Finance International chess tournament held in Coimbatore, India. One of his notable successes in this tournament was his win against Russian grandmaster Efim Geller. He was awarded Padma Shri at age 18.
Anand has won the Mainz Chess Classic, a Category 21 Championship, a record 11 times. In 2008, he defeated Carlsen en route to his 11th title in that event.
Anand is the first player to have won five titles in the Corus chess tournament. He is the first player to have won each of the Big Three super tournaments at the time: Corus (1989, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006), Linares (1998, 2007, 2008), and Dortmund (1996, 2000, 2004).
Anand has a stellar record at the annual Melody Amber Tournament (2 separate and unique Blindfold and Rapid Chess super tournaments played): he has 5 overall prizes (winning in 1994, 1997, 2003, 2005, and 2006), and has the most “rapidplay” titles, winning 9 times. He is also the only player to win the blind and rapid sections of the tournament in the same year (twice, in 1997 and 2005).
Anand won three consecutive Advanced Chess tournaments in Leon, Spain, after Kasparov introduced this form of chess in 1998, and is widely recognized as the world’s best Advanced Chess player, where players may consult a computer to aid in their calculation of variations.
World Chess Championships (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
In 1993, the newly formed Professional Chess Association (PCA) held a 54-player, 11-round Swiss-style qualifying tournament in Groningen on 19–30 December, an equivalent of FIDE’s Interzonal. Anand scored 7½/11 to finish tied for first and secure a berth in the 1994 Candidates’ Tournament. In the single-elimination tournament, Anand handily dispatched Adams and Oleg Romanishin in the quarterfinal and semifinal matches, held in New York City and Linares. Facing Kamsky in a 12-game final match held at Las Palmas, Anand lost Game 1 on time in a winning position but recovered with wins in Game 3, 9, and 11 to secure a 6½–4½ victory and a match against reigning champion Kasparov for the world chess championship. It was the first Candidates’ Tournament victory of Anand’s career.
The 20-game championship match was held from 10 September to 16 October 1995 on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center in New York City. The match started with a then-record eight consecutive draws before Anand broke open the match in Game 9, pressing and eventually breaking through Kasparov’s Sicilian Defense with a powerful exchange sacrifice. But Anand scored just half a point in the next five games, losing twice to Kasparov’s Sicilian Dragon defense, and eventually conceded a 10½–7½ loss. Afterward, Kasparov commented on Anand’s psychological approach to the match:
Anand lost the match in five games, Games 10 to 14. I lost many games in a row to Karpov in the first match I played with him, but I don’t think he was that much better. It was a great experience for me. Anand wasn’t paying enough attention with his team to the fact that he was playing the World Championship. He has never played such a strong opponent for such a long event. You can’t compare his match with Kamsky in April to the match we have played here… I’m criticizing the strategy. He could have played without a fixed strategy and adjusted during the match. The chess preparation was excellent, but there was some psychological advice not appropriate
World Chess Championship Match 1995 Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total Garry Kasparov (Russia) 2795 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 10½ Viswanathan Anand (India) 2725 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 7½
In a radical departure from previous years, the 1998 world championship was a 100-player knockout tournament, with each round consisting of two-game matches and ties resolved by rapid and blitz games. Controversially, Karpov, the defending champion, was seeded directly into the final, held just three days after the conclusion of the three-week tournament. This format gave Karpov a significant advantage in rest time and preparation; Kasparov and Kramnik both declined to participate as a result. The latter explained his absence bluntly: “Is it fair to expect Sampras to only play one match and defend his Wimbledon title?”
As a result of Kasparov’s withdrawal, Anand entered the tournament in Groningen, the Netherlands as the #1 seed. After dispatching future FIDE champion Alexander Khalifman in the third round, he scored quick victories over Zoltan Almasi, Alexei Shirov, and Boris Gelfand to advance. Both players drew their first four games in the final against ninth-seeded Michael Adams, held on 30 December. A visibly tired Anand, having played 21 games in 23 days, eventually prevailed in a sudden-death blitz game to secure a 3–2 victory.
Karpov, meanwhile, questioned Anand’s temperament and remarked that he “doesn’t have the character” to win big games. For his part, Kasparov dismissed the match as between “a tired player and an old player”.
World Chess Championship Match 1998 Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 R1 R2 Points Anatoly Karpov (Russia) 2745 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 5 Viswanathan Anand (India) 2765 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 0 3
From 25 November to 27 December 2000, the FIDE World Chess Championship was a 100-player single-elimination tournament in New Delhi, India, and Tehran, Iran. After winning the 2000 FIDE World Cup, Anand entered the event as the #1 overall seed and one of the favorites to win alongside Topalov, Gelfand, and Shirov. Anand decided to join the event after skipping the 1999 edition, due to ongoing negotiations for a title match with Kasparov that ultimately fell through. Kasparov and Kramnik, who defeated Kasparov in a match for the lineal world title earlier in the year, did not participate in the event. Anand’s second and preparation partner for the tournament was Spanish grandmaster Elizbar Ubilava.
Enjoying boisterous home-crowd support, Anand moved through the early rounds with relatively little difficulty, notching quick wins against Viktor Bologan, Smbat Lputian, and Bartłomiej Macieja. In the quarterfinals, he had four consecutive draws against defending champion Alexander Khalifman before winning a 15-minute tiebreak game to progress. Against Adams in the semifinals, Anand quickly drew Game 1 and took advantage of a positional blunder by Adams (20…c5?) to win Game 2 in 36 moves with white. Quickdraws in games 3 and 4 then saw Anand through to the final match.
World Chess Championship Match 2000 Rating 1 2 3 4 Points Alexei Shirov (Spain) 2746 ½ 0 0 0 ½ Viswanathan Anand (India) 2762 ½ 1 1 1 3½
In 2005, Anand finished in a tie for second place at the 2005 FIDE World Chess Championship, won by Topalov.
The finish of the 2005 World Chess Championship qualified Anand for the 2007 championship, an eight-player double round-robin tournament held in Mexico City from 12 to 30 September 2007. In 2006, Kramnik took Topalov’s place in the event after his victory over the latter to reunify the world title. Anand entered the tournament as the world’s top-ranked player and was considered a favorite to win alongside the defending champion Kramnik.
With the win, Anand became the first undisputed world champion to win the title in a tournament, rather than in match play, since Mikhail Botvinnik in 1948. In addition to the world title, Anand received a $390,000 cash prize.
Rank Player Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Points H2H Wins NS 1 Viswanathan Anand (IND) 2792 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 9 2 Vladimir Kramnik (RUS) 2769 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 8 1 3 54.50 3 Boris Gelfand (ISR) 2733 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 8 1 3 54.25 4 Peter Leko (HUN) 2751 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 7 5 Peter Svidler (RUS) 2735 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 6½ 6 Alexander Morozevich (RUS) 2758 ½ 0 1 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 6 1 3 7 Levon Aronian (ARM) 2750 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 6 1 2 8 Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 2726 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 1 0 ½ 0 5½
Key: H2H = head-to-head, points against tied player; NS = Neustadtl score
Anand convincingly defended the title against Kramnik in the 2008 World Chess Championship held on 14–29 October in Bonn, Germany. The winner was to be the first to score 6½ points in the 12-game match. Anand won by scoring 6½ points in 11 games, winning three of the first six games (two with black). After the tenth game, Anand led 6–4 and needed only a draw in either of the last two games to win the match. In Game 11, Kramnik played the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense. Once the players traded queens, Kramnik offered a draw after 24 moves since he had no winning chances in the endgame.
- Anand (2783) vs. Kramnik (2772), Wch Bonn GER (11); 29 October 2008 (final game)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qc7 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.f5 Qc5 10.Qd3 Nc6 11.Nb3 Qe5 12.0-0-0 exf5 13.Qe3 Bg7 14.Rd5 Qe7 15.Qg3 Rg8 16.Qf4 fxe4 17.Nxe4 f5 18.Nxd6+ Kf8 19.Nxc8 Rxc8 20.Kb1 Qe1+ 21.Nc1 Ne7 22.Qd2 Qxd2 23.Rxd2 Bh6 24.Rf2 Be3 (diagram) ½–½
Of Anand’s win, Kasparov said, “A great result for Anand and for chess. Vishy deserved the win in every way and I’m very happy for him. It will not be easy for the younger generation to push him aside… Anand out-prepared Kramnik completely. In this way, it reminded me of my match with Kramnik in London in 2000. Like I was then, Kramnik may have been very well prepared for this match, but we never saw it.” In 2010 Anand donated his gold medal to the charitable organization The Foundation to be auctioned off for the benefit of underprivileged children.
World Chess Championship Match 2008 Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total Viswanathan Anand (India) 2783 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 6½ Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) 2772 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 4½
Before the 2010 World Chess Championship match with Topalov, Anand, who had been booked on the flight Frankfurt–Sofia on 16 April, was stranded due to the cancellation of all flights following the volcano ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull. He asked for a three-day postponement, which the Bulgarian organizers refused on 19 April. Anand reached Sofia on 20 April after a 40-hour road journey. Consequently, the first game was delayed by one day.
World Chess Championship Match 2010 Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total Viswanathan Anand (India) 2787 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 6½ Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) 2805 1 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 5½
As a result of Anand’s victory in 2010, he defended his title in the 2012 World Chess Championship at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. His opponent was Boris Gelfand, the winner of the 2011 Candidates Matches. After losing Game 7 to Gelfand, Anand came back to win Game 8 in only 17 moves, the shortest decisive game in World Chess Championship history. The match was tied 6–6 after regular games with one win each. Anand won the rapid tiebreak 2½–1½ to win the match and retain his title. After the match, Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted Anand and Gelfand by calling both to his official residence.
World Chess Championship Match 2012 Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Points 13 14 15 16 Total Viswanathan Anand (India) 2791 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 6 ½ 1 ½ ½ 8½ Boris Gelfand (Israel) 2727 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 6 ½ 0 ½ ½ 7½
Anand lost his title in the 2013 World Chess Championship in Chennai. The winner was Magnus Carlsen, the winner of the 2013 Candidates Tournament. The first four games were drawn, but Carlsen won Games 5 and 6. Games 7 and 8 were drawn, and Carlsen won Game 9. On 22 November, Game 10 was drawn, making Carlsen the new world champion.
Anand won the double round-robin FIDE Candidates tournament at Khanty-Mansiysk (13–30 March) and earned a rematch with Carlsen. He went through the tournament undefeated, winning his first-round game against Aronian, his third-round game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and his ninth-round game against Topalov. He drew all his other games, including his 12th-round game against Dmitry Andreikin, where Anand agreed to a draw in a complex but winning position. He faced Carlsen in the world championship match in Sochi, Russia, in November. Carlsen won the match 6.5 to 4.5 after 11 of 12 scheduled games.
FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion 2003 (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
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 ten seconds after each move. Anand won this event ahead of ten of the top 12 players in the world, beating Kramnik in the final. His main recent titles in this category are Corsica (six years in a row from 1999 through 2005), Chess Classic (nine years in a row from 2000 through 2008), Leon 2005, Eurotel 2002, Fujitsu Giants 2002, and the Melody Amber (five times, and he won the rapid portion of Melody Amber seven times). In the Melody Amber 2007, Anand did not lose a single game in the rapid section, and scored 8½/11, two more than the runners-up, for a performance rating in the rapid section of 2939. In most tournament time control games that Anand plays, he has more time left than his opponent at the end of the game. He lost on time in one game, to Kamsky. Otherwise, he took advantage of the rule allowing players in time trouble to use dashes instead of move notation during the last four minutes only once, against Peter Svidler at the MTel Masters 2006.
FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion 2017 (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Anand won the 2017 World Rapid Chess Championship, defeating Vladimir Fedoseev 2–0 in the final tiebreak after he, Fedoseev, and Ian Nepomniachtchi tied for first with 10.5/15 points. He won the tournament ahead of Carlsen, his first victory in a world championship since losing the classical championship to Carlsen in 2013.
Post-2010 chess career (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
- 2010 Sofia World Chess Championship: From 24 April to 11 May 2010, Anand participated in a World Championship match against Topalov. Topalov gained direct entry into a challenger match against Kamsky as compensation from FIDE for not gaining entry into the 2007 World Chess Championship cycle. Because Topalov defeated Kamsky, he earned the right to challenge Anand for the World Chess Championship title. The match was level after 11 games, with 2 wins apiece in Rounds 1, 2, 4, and 8. In Game 12, Anand defeated Topalov with Black and retained his title.
- 73rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament: From 14 to 30 January 2011, Anand participated in the 73rd Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk Aan Zee, the Netherlands. He finished 2nd overall in the tournament, scoring 8.5 points out of 13 (+4-0=9), just behind the winner, Hikaru Nakamura. Anand defeated Shirov, Ruslan Ponomariov, Wang Hao, and Jan Smeets.
- 20th Amber Tournament 2011: From 11 to 25 March 2011, Anand participated in the 20th and final Amber Chess tournament, held in the city of Monte Carlo in Monaco. The tournament was broken into a Blindfold tournament and a Rapid Tournament. Anand scored 7 points out of a possible 11 in the Blindfold tournament (4 wins and 0 losses). In the Rapid tournament, he scored 6 points out of 11 (+4-3=4).
- Anand-Kasimdzhanov Match: On 27 March 2011, Anand played a friendly 4-game rapid match with one of his seconds, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Anand won the match 3.5-0.5 (the first game was drawn).
- Anand-Shirov Match: From 2–6 June 2011, Anand played in the 24th León Masters Tournament (XXIV Magistral de Ajedrez Ciudad de Leon Match). It was a rapid match between Anand and Shirov, consisting of two games a day between 3 and 5 June with a time control of 60 minutes + 30 seconds per move. Anand defeated Shirov 4.5-1.5 to win the match (+3-0=3).
In 2012, Anand participated in several high-level tournaments, including the London Chess Classic and the Bilbao Masters Grand Slam. Earlier in 2012, he also played a World Championship match against Gelfand in Moscow.
- 2012 Moscow World Chess Championship: From 10 to 30 May 2012, Anand participated in a World Championship match against Gelfand. Earlier in 2011, Gelfand had won the 2012 World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament in Kazan, Russia. The championship was a scheduled 12-game match, played in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The 12-game match was level after 12 games, with 1 win apiece in Rounds 7 and 8. Anand had won one of the shortest decisive chess games in the World Chess Championship, in 17 moves. Anand retained his title after defeating Gelfand in the following 4-game rapid match.
- 2012 Bilbao Masters — Grand Slam: From 24 September – to 13 October 2012, Anand participated in the 5th Bilbao Masters tournament. The tournament was a 6-player double-round-robin, played using the soccer-like scoring system (3 points for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss). The other five participants included Carlsen, Vallejo Pons, Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, and Sergey Karjakin. Anand finished in the bottom half of the tournament, finishing 5th place out of 6 with a -1 score (losing 1 game to Carlsen in Round 9).
Anand participated in several high-level tournaments in 2013, including the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Grenke Chess Classic, Zurich Chess Challenge, Alekhine Memorial, Tal Memorial, the 1st Norway Chess Tournament, and the London Chess Classic. He also participated in the 2013 World Chess Championship match against Magnus Carlsen.
- 75th Tata Steel Chess Tournament: From 12 to 27 January 2013, Anand participated in the 75th Tata Steel Chess Tournament, held in Wijk Aan Zee. He finished 3rd overall, scoring 8 points out of 13 (+4-1=8), just behind the winner and runner-up, Carlsen and Aronian.
- GRENKE Chess Classic Baden-Baden 2013: From 7 to 17 February 2013, Anand participated in the 2013 GRENKE Chess Classic, a tournament held in the German city of Baden-Baden. The other participants included Caruana, Adams, Arkadij Naiditsch, Daniel Fridman, and Georg Meier. Anand took clear 1st place after scoring 6.5 points out of 10, defeating Naiditsch twice in their two encounters in the tournament and Fridman once.
- 2nd Zurich Chess Challenge: From 23 February – to 1 March 2013, Anand participated in the Zurich Chess Challenge 2013, along with Caruana, Kramnik, and Gelfand. The tournament was a 4-player double-round robin. Caruana won, scoring 4 points out of 6 (defeating Anand and Gelfand). Anand finished 2nd with 50% (moving to an equal score after defeating Kramnik in the final round).
2014 (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Viswanathan Anand won the World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament, which earned him a rematch against Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship. He also participated in the Dubai World Rapid and Blitz Championships, Zurich Chess Challenge, Bilbao Masters, and London Chess Classic.
- 3rd Zurich Chess Challenge: From 29 January – to 4 February 2014, Anand participated in the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014. A Blitz Tournament was played on an opening day to determine the color distribution for the Classical Tournament. The classical tournament consisted of 5 games played with classical time control. The last day of the tournament consisted of 5 rapid games. The classical games were worth 2 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, while the Rapid and Blitz games were worth 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, thus placing greater importance on each classical result. Anand scored 2.5 points out of 5 in the Blitz tournament. In the Classical phase of the tournament, Anand scored 2 points out of 5, losing his first two games to Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura respectively, drawing against Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen in Rounds 3 and 5 respectively, and defeating Boris Gelfand in Round 4. In the final Rapid tournament, Anand finished last, scoring 1 point out of 5 (+0-3=2). In the overall tournament, Anand finished in 5th place out of 6.
In 2015, Viswanathan Anand was a participant in the inaugural 2015 Grand Chess Tour, a series of 3 super-tournaments featuring the world’s elite players. The three tournaments that Anand participated in were Norway Chess, Sinquefield Cup, and London Chess Classic. Among these tournaments, Anand also participated in the Berlin World Rapid and Blitz Championships, GRENKE Chess, Zurich Chess Challenge, Bilbao Chess Masters Final, and Shamkir Chess.
- GRENKE Chess Classic (Baden-Baden): Viswanathan Anand began the 2015 year by participating in the GRENKE Chess Classic. The tournament, held from 2–9 February 2015 in the city of Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, was an 8-player round-robin consisting of 7 rounds. Anand scored 2.5 points out of 7 (+1-3=7), placing 7th out of 8.
- 4th Zurich Chess Challenge: From 13 to 19 February, Anand participated in the Zurich Chess Challenge 2015. A Blitz Tournament on an opening day was played to determine the distribution of colors for the Classical Tournament. The classical tournament consisted of 5 games played with classical time control. The last day of the tournament consisted of 5 rapid games. The classical games were worth 2 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, while the Rapid and Blitz games were worth 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, thus placing greater importance on each classical result. The rules also stated that players who drew before their 40th move would have to play a rapid game (that would not count in the tournament standings). Anand scored 3.5 points out of 5 possible points in the opening Blitz tournament (+3-1=1). He won the Classical tournament, scoring 2 victories and 3 draws. He defeated Levon Aronian in Round 2 and Hikaru Nakamura in Round 4. In the final Rapid Tournament, Anand scored 2 points out of 5 (+1-2=2). However, because Anand and Nakamura were tied for the overall Zurich Chess Challenge in the number of total points, they played a blitz Armageddon game, which Nakamura won, defeating Anand with the black pieces. Therefore, Anand came in second in the overall Zurich Chess Challenge.
Viswanathan Anand was a participant in the 2nd Grand Chess Tour, a series of four super-tournaments featuring the world’s elite players: the Paris, France, and Leuven, Belgium, Rapid and Blitz tournaments (replacements for the Norway Chess tournament), 2016 Sinquefield Cup, and the 2016 London Chess Classic. The three best tournament results for each participant would be used to determine his final tour standings at the end of the year. Anand declined to participate in the Paris Rapid and Blitz tournament, meaning his results in Leuven, the Sinquefield Cup, and the London Chess Classic would count toward the overall standings. Additionally, Anand qualified for the 2016 World Chess Championship Candidates tournament by virtue of losing the 2014 World Chess Championship match.
- Gibraltar Chess Open: In 2016, Anand played in the Gibraltar open, his first open in 23 years. Anand finished with 5 wins, 2 losses and 3 draws. The losses were against Réunion-born Adrien Demuth and Hungarian talent Benjámin Gledura. Anand’s classical rating dropped 21.9 points.
- 5th Zurich Chess Challenge: From 12 to 15 February 2016, Anand played in the Zurich Chess Challenge 2016, which was broken up into a Rapid section and a blitz section. This rapid section of the tournament was played with a modified time control of 40 minutes for the game with 10 additional seconds per move. The other 5 players in the tournament included Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri, and Alexei Shirov. Anand scored victories over Aronian and Giri in the first two games of the Rapid tournament. He eventually tied for first with Nakamura with 10.5 points, after Nakamura won the final blitz game against Aronian; however, Nakamura won the tournament on a Sonneborn-Berger tiebreaker.
2017 (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Viswanathan Anand participated in several high-level tournaments in 2017 including the World Rapid and Blitz Championship, the Isle of Man Championship, the Norway chess tournament, the Zurich Chess Challenge, the Leon Chess Masters Rapid Tournament, and the FIDE World Cup, to which he returned after fifteen years. He also played in the Grand Chess Tour a series of five events: the Paris, Leuven, and St. Louis rapid and blitz tournaments, the 2017 Sinquefield Cup, and the 2017 London Chess Classic, with Anand declining to participate in the Paris Rapid and Blitz tournament. Anand made more than $450 000 in prize money in 2017.
- Zurich Chess Challenge 2017: Zurich Chess Challenge 2017 held from 12 to 17 April 2017, was divided into semi-classical (45 minutes per game+ 30 seconds per move) and blitz (10 minutes per game + 5 seconds per move) sections. The winner of a classical game was awarded 2 points for the overall standings, in case of a draw each player gets 1 point and the loser 0 points, while a win in a blitz game is awarded one point and a draw 0.5 points respectively. Anand finished third in the semi-classical section with a score of 4½/7 (+4-2=1) and second in the blitz section with a score of 4½/7 (+2-0=5), giving him a combined score of 13½/21 for a third-place finish.
- Norway Chess Tournament 2017: The fifth Norway Chess tournament was held from 6–16 June 2017 in Stavanger, Norway. The tournament was a 10-player robin involving all ten of the world’s best players by rating (at the time of announcement) and had an average Elo rating of 2797. Anand finished in eighth place scoring 4/9 (+1-2=6).
- 80th Tata Steel Masters: Anand played in the 2018 Tata Steel Masters, held from 13 to 28 January 2018. Anand finished fifth with a score of 8/13 (+4-1=8).
- Tal Memorial 2018: Anand won the 11th Tal Memorial tournament (rapid section) with a score of 6/9. The lineup of the players included Vladimir Kramnik, Hikaru Nakamura, Boris Gelfand, Shakriyar Mamedyarov, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Peter Svidler. Anand defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi, Hikaru Nakamura, Daniil Dubov, and Alexander Grischuk and drew the final round with Boris Gelfand to finish with a +3 score.
- 5th Grenke Chess Classic: From 31 March to 9 April 2018, Anand participated in the 5th Grenke Chess Classic. He finished eighth with a score of 3½/9 (+0–2=7).
- 6th Norway Chess: From 28 May to 7 June, he competed in the sixth edition of Norway Chess, placing fourth with 4½/8 (+2–1=5).
- 1st Tata Steel India Rapid & Blitz Tournament: In November 2018, he competed in the inaugural Tata Steel Chess India Rapid & Blitz tournament held in Kolkata, winning the blitz portion of the event.
- 81st Tata Steel Masters: In January he competed in the 81st Tata Steel Masters tournament held in Wijk aan Zee. There he scored 7.5/13 which netted him a third-place finish. The 3rd place was shared with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren.
- 2019 Gashimov Memorial: He placed third in the 2019 Gashimov Memorial tournament. His final score was 4.5/9 and his placement was shared with Teimour Radjabov and Alexander Grischuk. The event was held from 30 March to 9 April in Şəmkir.
Rating (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
In the April 2007 FIDE Elo rating list, Anand was ranked first in the world for the first time, and he held the number one spot in all rating lists but one from then until July 2008, the exception being the January 2008 list, where he was rated No. 2 behind Vladimir Kramnik (equal rating, but Kramnik held the No. 1 spot due to more games played). He dropped to No. 5 in the October 2008 list, the first time he had been outside the top 3 since July 1996.
In 2010, Anand announced that he would expand his tournament schedule, beginning in late 2010, in an effort to regain the world number one ranking from Magnus Carlsen. He achieved that goal on the November 2010 list with a rating of 2804, two points ahead of Magnus Carlsen, but was soon overtaken again by Carlsen, temporarily in January 2011 and then permanently in July 2011.
Assessment (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Lubomir Kavalek describes Anand as the most versatile world champion ever, pointing out that 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.
In an interview in 2011, Kramnik said about Anand: “I always considered him to be a colossal talent, one of the greatest in the whole history of chess”; and “I think that in terms of play Anand is in no way weaker than Kasparov but he’s simply a little lazy, relaxed and only focuses on matches. In the last 5–6 years he’s made a qualitative leap that’s made it possible to consider him one of the great chess players.” In an interview in 2020, Kramnik, while talking about his World Chess Championship match against Anand in 2008, mentioned: “Vishy is such a great player and he was in a fantastic form. He was such a powerful force that I do not know who could have stopped him then. Even Kasparov could not have managed it.”
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov commented that Anand’s victory in the 2014 Candidates Tournament “…proved that he is one of the strongest and greatest players of modern times”.
In an interview in 2014, Alexander Grischuk said about Anand: “I have to say that of all the players I’ve played against Anand has personally struck me as the strongest, of course after Kasparov.”
Notable tournament and match successes (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Classical international tournaments
- 1986 Arab-Asian International Chess Championship, Doha 1st
- 1987 Sakthi Finance Grandmasters Chess Tournament, Coimbatore 1st
- 1989 51st Hoogovens Chess Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 1st-4th
- 1990 Asian Zonal Tournament, Qatar
- 1990 Manchester Chess Festival, Manchester 1st
- 1990 Far East Bank International Open, Manila 1st-2nd
- 1990 Triveni Super Grandmasters Tournament, Delhi Joint 1st (with Kamsky)
- 1991–1992 Reggio Emilia Chess Tournament, Reggio Emilia 1st
- 1992 Goodrich Open International Tournament, Calcutta 1st-4th
- 1992 Euwe Memorial, Amsterdam 1st-2nd (with Short)
- 1992 Alekhine Memorial, Moscow 1st-2nd (with Gelfand)
- 1993 VSB Tournament, Amsterdam, 1st-3rd
- 1993 Madrid Tournament, 1st-3rd
- 1993 PCA Selection tournament, Groningen 1st-2nd (with Adams)
- 1993 Linares Chess Tournament, 2nd-3rd
- 1995 Tal Memorial, Riga, 2nd
- 1996 Dortmunder Schachtage, Dortmund (joint 1st with Kramnik)
- 1997 Torneo de Ajedrez, Dos Hermanas 1st-2nd (with Kramnik)
- 1997 Invesbanka Chess tournament, Belgrade 1st-2nd (with Ivanchuk)
- 1997 Credit Suisse Classic Tournament, Biel 1st
- 1998 60th Hoogovens Schaak Tornoi, Wijk aan Zee 1st-2nd (with Kramnik)
- 1998 Torneo International De Ajedrez, Linares 1st
- 1998 Madrid tournament, 1st
- 1998 Fontys International Chess Tournament, Tilburg 1st
- 1999 Linares Chess Tournament, 2nd-3rd
- 2000 FIDE World Cup, Shenyang 1st
- 2000 Dortmunder Schachtage, Dortmund, 2nd on tie-break after Kramnik
- 2001 Magistral Mérida GM tournament, 1st
- 2002 FIDE World Cup, Hyderabad 1st
- 2003 65th Corus Chess Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 1st
- 2004 66th Corus Chess Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 1st
- 2004 Dortmunder Schachtage, Dortmund 1st
- 2006 68th Corus Chess Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 1st-2nd (with Topalov)
- 2007 Linares Chess Tournament, Linares 1st
- 2007 FIDE World Championship Tournament, Mexico City 1st
- 2008 Linares Chess Tournament, Linares 1st
- 2010 Bilbao Chess Masters Final – Grand Slam Final, Bilbao 2nd
- 2010 London Chess Classic – London 1st-3rd, 2nd after a tie-break
- 2011 Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Wijk aan Zee 2nd
- 2013 Grenke Chess Classic, Baden Baden 1st
- 2013 Zurich Chess Challenge, Zurich 2nd
- 2014 Candidates Tournament, Khanty Mansiysk 1st
- 2014 Bilbao Chess Masters Final (Grand Slam Final), Bilbao 1st
- 2014 London Chess Classic, London 1st on Tie-break
- 2015 Zurich Chess Challenge (classical section), Zurich 1st
- 2015 Shamkir Chess (Vugar Gashimov Memorial), Shamkir 2nd
- 2015 Norway Chess (Grand Chess Tour), Stavanger 2nd
- 2016 Candidates Tournament, Moscow 2nd-3rd
- 2016 Sinquefield Cup, Saint-Louis 2nd
- 2016 Champions Showdown, Saint-Louis 1st-2nd (with Topalov)
- 2017 Sinquefield Cup, Saint-Louis 2nd
- 2018 Norway Chess, Stavanger 2nd-4th
Rapid and exhibition tournaments (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
- 1989 India Active Chess Championship, Pune 1st
- 1989 2nd Asian Active Chess Championship, Hong Kong 1st
- 1994 Melody Amber Tournament, Monaco 1st
- 1994 PCA Grand Prix (Rapid), Moscow 1st
- 1994 Munich blitz tournament 1st
- 1996 Credit Swiss Rapid Chess Grand Prix, Geneva 1st
- 1996 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon 1st
- 1996 Torneo Villarrobledo Rapid, 1st
- 1997 Melody Amber Tournament, Monaco 1st
- 1997 Chess Classic Rapid Championship, Frankfurst 1st, beat Karpov in the final
- 1998 Torneo Villarrobledo Rapid, 1st
- 1998 Torneo Magitral Communidad De Madrid, Madrid 1st
- 1998 Chess Classic Rapid Championship, Frankfurt 1st, beat Kramnik in the final
- 1998 Wydra Memorial Chess (Rapid), Haifa 1st
- 2000 Wydra International Tournament (Rapid), Haifa 1st
- 2000 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon 1st, beat Shirov in the final
- 2000 Chess Classic Rapid Championship, Frankfurt 1st
- 2000 GSM Plus blitz World Cup, 1st
- 2000 Corsica Masters Knockout (Rapid), Bastia 1st
- 2001 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon 1st, beat Shirov in the final
- 2001 Mirabal Rapid tournament, Madrid 1st
- 2001 Torneo Villarrobledo Rapid, 1st
- 2001 Corsica Masters Knockout (Rapid), Bastia 1st
- 2002 Corsica Masters Knockout (Rapid), Bastia 1st
- 2002 Eurotel (Combined Rapid plus Classical), Prague 1st
- 2003 Santurzi (Rapid and blindfold) 1st
- 2003 SIS Masters, Middelfart 1st
- 2003 FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship, Cap d’Agde 1st, beat Kramnik in the final 1.5-0.5
- 2003 Corsica Masters Knockout (Rapid), Bastia 1st
- 2004 São Paulo Rapid, 1st
- 2004 Keres Memorial Rapid, Tallinn 1st
- 2004 Corsica Masters Knockout (Rapid), Bastia 1st
- 2005 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon 1st, beat Qosimjonov in the final
- 2005 Corsican Circuit, Venaco Rapid, 1st
- 2006 Torneo Villarrobledo Rapid, 1st
- 2006 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon 1st, beat Topalov in the final
- 2007 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon 1st, beat Topalov in the final
- 2007 Mainz World Rapid Chess Championship, 1st, beat Aronian in the final
- 2008 Mainz World Rapid Chess Championship, 1st, beat Carlsen in the final
- 2011 Botvinnik Memorial, Moscow, 1st
- 2011 Corsica Masters Knockout (Rapid), Corsica 1st
- 2014 World Rapid Chess Championship (Rapid), Dubai 3rd
- 2016 Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid and blitz), Zurich 1st-2nd
- 2016 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon 1st, beat Wei Yi in the final
- 2016 St. Louis Champions Tournament, St. Louis 1st
- 2017 World Rapid Chess Championship, Riyadh 1st
- 2017 World Blitz Chess Championship, Riyadh 3rd
- 2018 11th Tal Memorial Rapid, Moscow 1st
- 2018 1st Tata Steel India Rapid & Blitz Tournament (Blitz), Kolkata 1st
- 2019 Paris Grand Chess Tour blitz tournament, Paris 1st-3rd
- 2019 Levitov blitz tournament, Amsterdam 1st-2nd
- 2021 Croatia Grand Chess Tour, 2nd
Classical matches (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
- 1991 Madras, World Chess Championship Candidates match vs Alexey Dreev won 4.5-1.5
- 1992 Linares match Anand vs Vasyl Ivanchuk won 5–3
- 1994 Wijk aan Zee FIDE World Chess Championship Candidates match vs Artur Yusupov won 4.5-2.5
- 1994-5 PCA World Championship Candidates Cycle winner
- 1994 New York World Chess Championship Candidates match vs Oleg Romanishin won 5-2
- 1994 Linares World Chess Championship Candidates match vs Michael Adams won 5.5-1.5
- 1995 Las Palmas World Chess Championship Candidates match vs Gata Kamsky won 6.5-4.5
- 2008 World Chess Championship vs Vladimir Kramnik; won 6.5-4.5
- 2010 World Chess Championship vs Veselin Topalov; won 6.5-5.5
- 2012 World Chess Championship vs Boris Gelfand; won 8.5-7.5 (2.5-1.5 in rapid tiebreaks)
Rapid Matches (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
- 1997 Aegon Man vs Computers chess event (clock simultan vs 6 programs) won 4–2
- 1997 Leon match Anand vs Miguel Illescas 4.5-1.5
- 1999 Magistral de Ajedrez Ciudad de Leon, Advanced Chess Rapid match vs Anatoly Karpov 5–1
- 2001 Mainz Chess Classic World Rapid Championship vs Kramnik; won 6.5-5.5
- 2002 Mainz Chess Classic World Rapid Championship vs Ruslan Ponomariov; won 4.5-3.5
- 2003 Mainz Chess Classic World Rapid Championship vs Judit Polgar; won 5-3
- 2004 Mainz Chess Classic World Rapid Championship vs Alexei Shirov; won 5-3
- 2005 Mainz Chess Classic World Rapid Championship vs Alexander Grischuk; won 5-3
- 2006 Mainz Chess Classic World Rapid Championship vs Teimour Radjabov; won 5-3
- 2011 Leon Rapid match vs Shirov; won 4.5-1.5
Awards (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Anand has received many national and international awards.
Indian national honors
- Arjuna Award for Outstanding Indian sportsperson in Chess in 1985.
- Padma Shri – Fourth highest civilian award awarded by the Government of India in 1987.
- The inaugural Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sporting honor in the years 1991–1992.
- Padma Bhushan is – Third highest civilian award awarded by the Government of India in 2000.
- Padma Vibhushan is – Second highest civilian award awarded by the Government of India in 2007.
Other honors (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
- National Citizens Award and Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987
- British Chess Federation “Book of the Year” Award in 1998 for his book My Best Games of Chess.
- Anand won the Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008. The Chess Oscar is awarded to the year’s best player according to a worldwide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists conducted by the Russian chess magazine 64.
- Sportstar Best Sportsperson of the Year for 1995
- Sportstar Millennium Award in 1998, from India’s premier sports magazine for being the sportsperson of the millennium.
- Nilesh Murali and Rahul Desirazu Excellence in Chess Award (2004, 2007)
- “Global Strategist Award” for mastering many formats of World Chess Championships by NASSCOM in 2011.
- Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa honored Anand with a cheque of Rs 2 crores, for winning the World Chess Championship for the fifth time.
- In 2012, he received the “Indian sportsperson of the year” and “Indian of the year” awards.
- In 2014 Anand was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship for the development of economic, scientific, and cultural ties with Russia. The Order of Friendship was awarded to Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand, the participants in the FIDE World Chess Championship Match that was held at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in 2012.
- In 2015 Anand was honored with the top country award at the Spanish embassy, Delhi on 8 January. It is given to the eminent people of Indian origin who helped to bring glory to both India and Spain.
- 4538 Vishyanand (provisional designation 1988 TP) is a main-belt minor planet. It was discovered by Kenzo Suzuki in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, on 10 October 1988 and was named after Vishy on 1 April 2015.
Charity (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
Anand participated in a charity simul called “Checkmate COVID” to support COVID-19 relief along with fellow Indian Grandmasters Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli, Nihal Sarin, and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu. These 5 Grandmasters played online against 100 opponents on the Chess.com platform. The time control for the games was 30 minutes with a 30-second increment with the grandmasters having 15 extra minutes on their clock. More than $50,000 were raised by this initiative. All the proceeds went to Red Cross India and the “Checkmate COVID” initiative of the All India Chess Federation (AICF).
Notable games (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
On his way to winning the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000, Anand, playing White, defeated Grandmaster Viktor Bologan:
- Anand vs. Bologan, New Delhi, 2000 World Championship; Ruy Lopez, Breyer (ECO C95)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 0-0 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Ng3 c5 15. d5 c4 16. Bg5 Qc7 17. Nf5 Kh8 18. g4 Ng8 19. Qd2 Nc5 20. Be3 Bc8 21. Ng3 Rb8 22. Kg2 a5 23. a3 Ne7 24. Rh1 Ng6 25. g5! b4!? Anand has a strong kingside attack, so Bologan seeks counterplay with the sacrifice of a pawn. 26. axb4 axb4 27. cxb4 Na6 28. Ra4 Nf4+ 29. Bxf4 exf4 30. Nh5 Qb6 31. Qxf4 Nxb4 32. Bb1 Rb7 33. Ra3 Rc7 34. Rd1 Na6 35. Nd4 Qxb2 36. Rg3 c3 (see diagram) 37. Nf6!! Re5 If 37…gxf6, 38.gxf6 h6 39.Rg1! Qd2! 40.Qh4 leaves White with an irresistible initiative. 38. g6! fxg6 39. Nd7 Be7 40. Nxe5 dxe5 41. Qf7 h6 42. Qe8+ 1–0 White forces mate in 12 moves if the game were to continue, with 42…Bf8 43.Rf3 Qa3 44.Rxf8+ Qxf8 45.Qxf8+ Kh7 46.d6 exd4 47.Ba2 h5 48.dxc7 Nb4 49.Qg8+ Kh6 50.f4 g5 51.f5 g4 52.h4 Bxf5 53.exf5 Nxa2 54.Qh8#.
Bibliography (Viswanathan Anand Biography)
- Viswanathan Anand (1998). My Best Games of Chess. Gambit Chess.
- Viswanathan Anand and Devangshu Datta (2007). My Life in Chess. Everyman Chess.
- Viswanathan Anand and Ninan, Susan (2019). Mind Master: Winning Lessons from a Champion’s Life. Hachette India.