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Friday, 1 June 2012

Viswanathan Anand: Indian Ruler of World Chess

3D Picture of Great Viswanathan Anand and in front of Chess set created by me (Manash Kundu)

Viswanathan Anand:

Viswanathan Anand Post created by me (Manash Kundu) to my FaceBook Group COFFEE-HOUSE-ADDA after winning against Boris Gelfand.

Viswanathan Anand (born 11 December 1969) is an Indian chess Grandmaster and the current World Chess Champion. Anand has won the World Chess Championship five times (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012), and has been the undisputed World Champion since 2007.

Viswanathan Anand thinking about his next move

He held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the world title was split. He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. He then successfully defended his title in the World Chess Championship 2010 against Veselin Topalov and in the World Chess Championship 2012 against Boris Gelfand. 

Israel's Boris Gelfand and Viswanathan Anand

As the reigning champion, he will face the winner of the upcoming Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Championship 2013.

Anand is one of six players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE rating list, and in April 2007 at the age of 37, he became the world number one for the first time. He was at the top of the world rankings five out of six times, from April 2007 to July 2008, holding the number-one ranking for a total of 15 months. In October 2008, he dropped out of the world top three ranking for the first time since July 1996. Anand regained the world number one ranking in 1 November 2010, having defeated the reigning world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the Bilbao Masters, but had to concede the top spot back to Carlsen in July 2011.

Viswanathan Anand with his Black Pawn Move

Anand became India's first grandmaster in 1988. He was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India's highest sporting honour. 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.

Viswanathan Anand with his White Pawn Move

In an interview in 2011, Vladimir Kramnik (ex-World Champion 2000 to 2007) 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".

Childhood of Viswanathan Anand:

Young Viswanathan Anand with his parents
how are world class champions like Vishy born? For that, ask his mother Sushila. In 1974, when he was five, she first opened a chessboard and taught him the game. She was also his first opponent in the game. Anand was her youngest child.

For many of us chess is a very complex game. But it is interesting that most champions often start playing chess in their childhood. Luckily, Anand was living in Madras (now Chennai), which was known as the chess capital of India.

Madras had produced India's first International Master, Manuel Aaron in 1961. Seventeen years later, in 1978, Madras produced India's second International Master, V. Ravi Kumar. Anand too started playing in local tournaments.

In the same year the boy's life took a new turn. His father, who worked with the Indian Railways, was sent to the Phillippines for a project. Anand and his mother also went with him. Anand left chess-crazy Madras to go to a chess-crazy country - the Philippines! Asia's first Grandmaster, Eugene Torre, was a Filipino. Florencio Campomanes, who was the President of the world chess organisation, FIDE, at that time was also a Filipino. 

Young Viswanathan Anand and his Passion for Chess game

And the famous world chess championship match between Soviet Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi, also took place in Philippines' capital Manila in 1978. Chess was the biggest sport in Philippines. It seemed as if Anand had reached paradise.

There were daily chess programmes on television. Unlike children of his age, he preferred chess programmes to cartoons, and chess magazines to comics! And if ever the postman delivered his magazine during lunch time, Anand would leave the food untouched, and bury his nose inside the book.

For Anand the best part of the magazine was the chess puzzle given at the end of each programme. He would solve it and send back the answer. Most often he was right. He won so many prizes that the programme officials finally decided to keep a limit to the answers he could send!

His first important world championship was in Paris, in 1983. He finished third despite being unwell. His mother was his most important support; she helped him cope with the pressure of the big match. She often accompanied him on his tours.

During those times when she was in Madras, Anand would often call her at the most difficult moment of his match. He would speak to her and get his confidence back.

In 1985, Anand became an Asian champion. He was also India's youngest International Master. Two years later, in 1987, he won the world junior championship, in the Philippines. He was the first Asian to achieve this feat. The same year he became India's first Grandmaster. He had just turned 18.

Marriage Life:

Viswanathan Anand with his wife Aruna Anand

Three days after her wedding, Aruna Anand found herself in Dortmund, Germany, watching her husband compete in a major chess championship. She didn’t know anyone from the close-knit chess world, she didn’t understand the game and she could n’t for the life of her make out if he was winning or losing.

So she chose a less nerve-wracking alternative: “I started waiting in the toilet while he was playing,” she says laughing. “He would come and call me when he had finished, and I’d just keep looking at his face for a sign on how he’d done. He teases me saying that he’d never seen such a blank face in his life!”

Not quite your typical honeymoon. But then her husband isn’t your typical guy. For Grandmaster and current undisputed World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand, travelling six to seven months in a year to tournaments and spending several hours a day intensely focused on a 64-square board in training or in competition is perfectly normal.
And after 12 years of marriage, it’s all par for the course for Aruna too. They sit down for the interview in their cheerful Chennai flat with just two hours to go for a flight to Delhi (for Anand to receive the Padma Vibhushan), but they’re both relaxed and there’s plenty of good-humoured laughter as they chat about what makes them work as a couple.

“I think it’s her sense of humour that keeps us going,” says Anand candidly. “I’m in another world during tournaments, and her ability to laugh off the things I do makes life a lot easier.”

According to Aruna, he has a knack of simplifying the situation and putting things in perspective, which is great, for example, when a flight gets cancelled and she’s getting all paranoid. But sometimes, all that calm logic can be maddening. “After a wedding one night, I was terrified I hadn’t put all my jewels back in the locker,” she says. “Anand says, ‘well, if you left them out, the next guy has taken them. If not, they’ll be there tomorrow,’ and turns over and falls asleep.”

“A moment later I realised that was probably not a good thing to have said,” says Anand ruefully.

Over a period of time, a division of responsibilities evolved between them where Aruna handles everyday tasks from packing for travel to scheduling his media engagements, while he focuses on the chess. “It was just practical, because he trains such long hours and is often thinking sub-consciously about the game,” she says, adding jokingly, “I realised the marriage would just last longer this way.”

She still doesn’t know much about the game, but they do share a common love for travel and food. Anand rattles off a long list of cuisines they’ve tried — Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Sri Lankan, Mexican, Italian, French, Spanish — but pre-emptively rejects the title ‘foodie’. “It suggests a certain lack of control,” he says with characteristic dry wit.

They try and fit in short vacations in between tournaments, such as a city-break in Berlin and trips within Mexico or Brazil. One of their best experiences in recent times was at the Victoria Falls in South Africa (though they did lose a camera to the spray), and Anand would love to go back to Iceland, which he calls a ‘unique earthscape’ of volcanoes and geysers.

But they always make it back to Chennai for two or three months annually; unfortunately, it’s usually during the hottest time of the year. “Every year I tell myself I’ll come at another time, and every year April-May ends up being when I’m free,” Anand says.

So where’s home? It’s a question they find hard to answer. “I suppose whichever hotel room you’ve thrown your clothes about in becomes home temporarily,” says Aruna. They do have a home in the idyllic little Spanish town of Collado Mediano though, which they use as a base. “There are only about 5000 people in that town; it’s a completely different experience from living in Chennai,” says Anand. The town in turn has taken to the couple completely, and Anand is treated like an adopted son. “They have pictures of him in every shop; the vegetable shop even has one of him buying tomatoes,” says Aruna laughing.

It’s easy to see why they’re so taken with this down-to-earth pair. The relationship that began with a honeymoon at Dortmund has matured, and like fine wine, it just seems to have gotten better with the passing years.

Aruna, who has been Anand’s full-time manager since the two got married, hasn’t been travelling with him the past few months. Besides being Anand’s source of strength, she takes care of his travel schedule, coordinating with his seconds and taking care of his media commitments.

“She hasn’t been physically present, but we have been in touch. I may have to get used to playing tournaments without Aruna around. But again, we will have to see how it goes. Like I said, the baby is a priority,” Anand said.

Aruna dna Anand fun facts:
Viswanathan Anand without Chess

Both Aruna and Anand are fluent in Spanish. Anand speaks German and French as well

Anand unwinds by doing Sudoku (which Aruna says he’s annoyingly good at). He’s planning on taking up advanced 3-D Sudoku next.

Anand listens to a lot of music while working, everything from Queen and Pet Shop Boys to old Tamil film songs. His Danish trainer Nielsen has become quite a fan of MGR songs in the process.

Aruna’s nickname for Anand in the early years of their marriage was ‘Lord of the Rings’ because he kept losing his wedding ring. Her parents replaced it for him three times until he asked them to stop.

Anand once bought Aruna a sari because he thought the colour would “look brilliant in hi-resolution on the computer screen.”

Viswanathan Anand Indian Ruler of Chess world and Origin of Chess :

real-size resin reproductions of the 12th century Lewis chessmen. The top row shows king, queen, and bishop. The bottom row shows knight, rook, and pawn.

The history of chess spans some 1500 years. The earliest predecessors of the game originated in India, before the 6th century AD. From India, the game spread to Persia. 

Persian Chess set

When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Southern Europe. In Europe, chess evolved into roughly its current form in the 15th century. In the second half of the 19th century, modern chess tournament play began, and the first world Chess Championship was held in 1886. The 20th century saw great leaps forward in chess theory and the establishment of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Developments in the 21st century include use of computers for analysis, which originated in the 1970s with the first programmed chess games on the market. Online gaming appeared in the mid-1990s.

3D Chess Set Created by Me (Manash Kundu)

 Newly-crowned world chess champion Viswanathan Anand received a gold medal, prize money of $1.4 million (around Rs. 7.9 crores), a memento and a piece of contemporary art displaying him and challenger Boris Gelfand, for his achievement at a ceremony on Thursday.

3D Picture of Great Viswanathan Anand and in front of Chess set created by me (Manash Kundu)

Stating that his connection with Russia has been very deep, Anand said, "I benefitted a lot from playing chess in Russian Cultural center in Chennai and my second Grandmaster norm was also made at the Cultural center in New Delhi. The connection with Russia is quite deep, as I also played a lot of tournaments here while growing up."

Anand, who won in a nail-biting finish in rapid tiebreak games, wished Gelfand good luck during the prize giving and mentioned that Gelfand always warmly greeted him before each game, ensuring that the match was played in right spirit.

Viswanathan Anand thinking his next move against Israel's Boris Gelfand

Anand also thanked the sponsors and FIDE for organising the world championship and also acknowledge the support of his wife (Aruna) and his team at the State Tretyakov Gallery.

The speculation about Anand's team also ended as it remained the same as it was four years back with Peter Hiene Nielsen, Rustam  Kasimdzhanov, Radek Wojtajsek and Surya Shekhar Ganguly as his seconds for this match too.

Before the final ceremony the world champion also met Russian president Vladimir Putin, who had invited him for tea at his residence.

Anand mentioned to Putin about learning chess in a Russian cultural center in his home town to which the President replied, "So we brought this on ourselves"!

"I really enjoyed it, the President was fully aware about the match, was very warm and friendly. For me it was an honour," Anand said on his meeting with Putin.

Picture of a game against Boris Gelfand by Viswanathan Anand

                                                                                               3D Animation Showing Rotating Chess Set

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