Viswanathan “Vishy” Anand (born 11 December 1969) is an Indian chess Grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, and the current World Rapid Chess Champion. He is called ”Vishy” or the ”Tiger of Madras”.

The Tiger of Madras

I first heard about Anand way back in 1983 while reading a Finnish chess magazine called “Suomen shakki” (the Finnish Chess). The magazine contained an article of world under-14 chess championship held in Kiljava, Finland. I the article a Finnish chess Fide Master Petri Kekki wrote about Anand: “Anand has a perfect feeling for chess positions. This win of his took less than an hour.” His talent shined already at the age of 13!

Anand learned chess at the age of six from his mother and joined a chess club a year later. At his youth he was known as a very fast player. In 1985, he became the youngest Indian to achieve the title of International Master at the age of fifteen. In 1987, he became the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship. In 1988, at the age of 18, he became India’s first Grandmaster by winning the Shakti Finance International chess tournament held in Coimbatore, India. His outright victory at Reggio Emilia 1991/2, beating Kasparov in their individual game, marked his graduation into the top level of the chess elite.

Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 for the first time after defeating Alexei Shirov 3½–0½ in the final match held at Tehran, but failed to defend the title in 2002, losing in the semifinals to Vassily Ivanchuk. Anand was named the undisputed World champion in September 2007 after winning the FIDE World Championship Tournament in Mexico City. Anand convincingly defended the title against Kramnik in the World Chess Championship in 2008 winning the match with the score 7-5. In 2010 Anand defended the title in a match against Veselin Topalov winning with the score 6½-5½. In 2012 Anand again defended the title this time against Boris Gelfand winning with the score 8½-7½. In 2013 Anand lost the title in a match against Magnus Carlsen with the score of 3½-6½. In 2014 Anand challenged Carlsen for a title match in Sochi, Russia, but lost with the score of 4½-6½. Anand most recent success came in 2017 in the form of winning the FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion 2017 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Anand’s peak Elo rating was 2817 in March 2011. At the moment his Elo rating is 2767.

Viswanathan Anand’s style:

– A good description of Anand’s style can be found in the book “The Mammoth Book of the World’s Greatest Chess Games” (Burgess, Nunn, and Emms): “Anand is a very “complete” player. He obviously has enormous talent, an exceptional speed of thought and ferocious capacity of hard work. Though a natural attacking player, he is resourceful and resilient in defense and rarely gets flustered under pressure… Away from the board, he is modest, greatly popular and well respected by his peers.”

– The American chess Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan has this to say about Anand: “Anand has phenomenal calculating abilities.”

– In an interview in 2014, the Russian chess Grandmaster Alexander Gritchuk 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.”

– The Norwegian/American chess Grandmaster Jonathan Tisdall tweeted this to me a couple of weeks ago: “I remember seeing Vishy play as a teen – he was terrifying.”

– Anand is one of the best opening theoreticians in the world (perhaps even the best) playing various openings both as white and as black. As white he slightly prefers 1.e4 instead of other opening moves.

– Anand married his wife Aruna in 1996 and has a son, Akhil, born on 9 April 2011. His hobbies are reading, swimming, and listening to music.

– Below are some links about Anand:

– The Wikipedia article Viswanathan Anand. Good as always!

– The Chessgames.com article Chessgames.com. Also very good!

– The most comprehensive Anand’s game collection known to me chess.db

– One of my favorite Youtube-videos: Anand and his talent Anand and his talent. The ooh and the applauds of the crowd are just wonderful. Everybody loves the Tiger of Madras!

– And Anand’s Twitter-account Anand Twitter-account

This is all for January! A positive and negative feedback is equally appreciated.
Continuation follows in February. Have a great month of January!

Kind regards,

Mika Kaakinen
Riihimäki
Finland

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