Person of day - 11 DECEMBER 2023
India is the homeland of Chess, but it did not shine with bright players, until Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand appeared. He was named “Anand” at birth. His father’s name was Viswanathan. According to Indian tradition, his full name is “Viswanathan Anand” which is translated as “Anand, Viswanathan’s son”. The confusion over his name began when he came to Europe: many thought that Viswanathan was his name and Anand surname. Later, Viswanathan was shortened to “Vishy”.
His exceptional chess talent was evident straight away. Having learned to play chess at the age of 6, Vishy was already the champion of India by 14, an international master by 15 and a world junior champion at 17. From an early age, Anand played quickly as well as effectively- he remains one of the world’s strongest players in speed chess to this day. A remarkable intuition is the strongest side of his universal talent.
At the start of the 1990s, Vishy became one of the world’s strongest chess players and in 1995 he won the right to play for the world championship against Garry Kasparov. Anand lost the match, but this loss did not faze him and he continued his storm of Olympus, while winning multiple competitions at the same time. In 2000, he won the knockout world championship- that was the Indian grandmaster’s first title.
In 2007, his dream finally came true: in Mexico City, Anand won the two-round tournament and became the world champion. He confirmed his title in 2008 with a confident victory against Vladimir Kramnik. Veselin Topalov’s attempt to take the title of champion also ended in failure: Anand won the match by a score of 6,5:5,5. The next match for the world championship in May 2012 took place in Moscow, in the Tretyakov Gallery. Anand’s opponent was Boris Gelfand. The classical match of 12 parties ended in a draw, but the champion was stronger in the tie breaker- he won by a score of 2,5:1,5 and retained his title.
Anand is often compared to Capablanca due to his intuitive understanding of positions and his ease of play but, unlike the great Cuba, he also possesses remarkable work efficiency. The five-time winner of the chess “Oscar”, Anand is the only chess player on the planet who became world champion in all three systems: round, knockout and match systems.
In November 2013, Vishy Anand lost the match for the crown to Magnus Calrsen but he decided to risk another attempt at the chess Olympus. He performed wonderfully in the candidates’ tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk and won first place one round before the end. In September 2014, Anand won the tournament of four in Bilbao. The second match for the world championship between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand (Sochi, November 2014) was a bitter struggle, but Carlsen won again by a score of 6,5:4,5.
Not for the first time, Vishy Anand celebrates his birthday in the super-tournament in London.