The Lightening Kid - Viswanathan Anand
Anand learned to play chess from his mother when he was 6 years old. By the time he was 14, Anand had won the Indian National Sub-Junior Championship with a perfect score of nine wins in nine games. At age 15 he became the youngest Indian to earn the international master title. The following year, he won the first of three consecutive national championships. At age 17 Anand became the first Asian to win a world chess title when he won the 1987 FIDE World Junior Championship, which is open to players who have not reached their 20th birthday by January 1 of the tournament year. Anand followed up that victory by earning the international grandmaster title in 1988. In 1991 Anand won his first major international chess tournament, finishing ahead of world champion Garry Kasparov and former world champion Anatoly Karpov. For the first time since the American Bobby Fischer abandoned the title in 1975, a non-Russian had emerged as a favorite to become world chess champion.
Anand broke through in 2000, winning the FIDE World Chess Championship, which again featured knockout matches. Because of the tradition of having to beat the previous champion in a relatively long match, as well as misgivings about the short formats and quick time controls used in the knockout matches, most fans did not recognize Anand, or any of the FIDE champions since Kasparov, as legitimate. Anand finally achieved his place in the list of generally recognized world chess champions with his victory in the 2007 FIDE World Chess Championship, a double round-robin tournament against most of the best players in the world.
Anand defended his world champion title in 2013 against Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who won the scheduled 12-game tournament after the tenth game. The next year Anand and Carlsen had a rematch for the world championship, which ended in victory for Carlsen.
Anand, who first earned the nickname of the “Lightning Kid” in India, is known for quick tactical calculations, which he has displayed by winning numerous “speed chess” titles. In 1998 Anand published a collection of his games, Vishy Anand: My Best Games of Chess, which he expanded with new games in 2001.
Anand has won the Chess Oscar on 6 occasions, in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008. He has received many other national and international awards including the Arjuna award for Outstanding Indian Sportsman in Chess in 1985, the inaugural Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India's highest sporting honor in the year 1991–1992, the British Chess Federation’s 'Book of the Year' Award in 1998 for his book My Best Games of Chess, the Padma Bhushan in 2000, the Sportstar Millennium Award in 1998 from India's premier Sports magazine for being the sportsperson of the millennium. In 2007, he was awarded India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award in Indian history and received the 'Global Strategist Award' for mastering many formats of World Chess Championships by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) in 2011.
Anand is the only player to have won the super tournament at Wijk aan Zee (Corus from 1989-2010) five times. He is the first player to have achieved victories in each of the three big chess super tournaments: Corus/Wijk aan Zee (1989, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006), Linares (1998, 2007, 2008), Dortmund (1996, 2000, 2004).
Rating and Ranking
Anand is one of eight players in history to officially crack the 2800 mark, peaking at 2817 in March and May 2011, when he was also ranked world #1. Between April 2007 and May 2011, Anand was ranked world #1 for a total of 21 months.
At the age of 45 and after
placing 2nd at the Gashimov Memorial Tournament in Shamkir, Anand re-entered
the "2800 club" for the first time since exiting that rating bracket
in November 2011. His result at the Norway Chess tournament in June 2015 pushed
his rating back up to 2816, close to his peak rating to date, and to #2 in the
world behind Carlsen.