Viswanathan Anand is World Chess Champion, having won the World Chess Championship five times (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012), and India’s first Chess Grandmaster (1988). He was the undisputed World Champion 2007-2013, and is the only World Champion to have taken the World Championship title in three formats, knockout, tournament, and a classical match.
In 2000 he became the first Asian to win the World Chess Championship, and the only non-Soviet to successfully retain a World Championship title twice. He is widely considered the strongest rapid player of his generation, and was the FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion in 2003.
Anand is an inspirational speaker, who keenly promotes the game in his vivid presentations, through innovative methods and fascinating insights.
Anand started playing Chess at six, and by 14 was the “Boy Wonder” of Indian chess. His lightning speed, ability to see and read the game far ahead, as well as great intuition, saw him become the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship in 1987. In 1988, at the age of eighteen, he became India’s first Grandmaster, and was awarded Padma Shri. He was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India’s highest sporting honour.
He held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the world title was split, but became the undisputed World Champion in 2007. Anand went on to successfully defend his title in the World Chess Championships of; 2008 against Vladimir Kramnik; 2010 against Veselin Topalov; and 2012 against Boris Gelfand.
In 2007, he received India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award in Indian history. He has also won the Chess Oscar six times (1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008), and received the “Indian sportsperson of the year” and “Indian of the year” awards in 2012.
Viswanathan Anand joined the Board of Directors of Olympic Gold Quest in 2010, a foundation for promoting and supporting India’s elite sportspersons and potential young talent. He is known as the “One man Indian Chess revolution” whose ambition it is to be able to take chess to the grass roots level. He is a spokesperson for many causes, and is associated with Vidyasagar (an NGO for spastic and autistic children) and is very closely associated with the NIIT Mind Champions Academy.
In 1998 he received the British Chess Federation “Book of the Year” Award for his book ‘My Best Games of Chess’, which was updated in 2001.
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