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The Vishwanathan Anand File

July 2007
The Vishwanathan Anand File


1 His current World Chess Federation ranking.

4 Chess Oscars he has won.

6 Age when he started playing chess.

15 Years he has been in the world's top three.

18 Age when he became India's first grandmaster

37 His current age (he was born Dec. 11, 1969, in Chennai).

2,803 His highest World Chess Federation rating.


"You are always looking at all your old analysis and games and trying to find out new ideas and new positions. ? If you don't find new ideas, people can just stop you in your lane." (Rediff.com)

"I think a lot of people got into chess years ago because of its bohemian nature – you could be as unfit as you liked and it didn't matter. Now it's different. Many players go to the gym as part of our chess training." (Time.com)

"It was quite something to finally see my name on the [top of the] list. I would be lying if I said I'm not enjoying being No. 1." (IBNLive.com)

"I enjoy what I do. I am just a normal guy who found that he had a talent in chess and enjoyed getting to the top." (TNQSponsorship.com)


His mother, Susheela, a housewife and chess aficionado, introduced him to the game. He attended Don Bosco School in Chennai and spent his evenings sharpening his skills at the Mikhal Tal Chess Club in the Russian Cultural Centre. He won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship at 14 and became National Champion at 16.

His biggest achievement came on Dec. 24, 2000 in Teheran, Iran, when he became the 15th World Chess Champion, the first Asian to win the title. He held the title until 2002.

He has won the Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003, and 2004. The Chess Oscar is an international award given to the best chess player every year. The winner is selected by a poll of chess experts across the world, including grandmasters.

He lives in Spain with his wife, Aruna, and is fluent in Spanish.


His father's name is Vishwanathan, his name is Anand, so he really should be known as Anand Vishwanathan. But because of the Tamil Nadu custom of putting one's father's initial first, he was ‘V. Anand' on official documents and when he went abroad, his name was wrongly expanded to Vishwanathan Anand.


After attaining the Grandmaster title, Anand became a household name in India, but not everyone knew his face. Once, traveling by train, an elderly man sat next to him and started chatting. "He asked what I did," Anand recalled. "I said I am a chess player. The man was not convinced. He said, ‘Yes, but what do you do? Does your father own a business?' I said, ‘No, I play chess.' After 10 minutes, the man looked me straight in the face and said, ‘All this chess is very nice if you can be Vishwanathan Anand, but you, I am not sure.' After that I couldn't get to tell the guy who I was but somehow I realized I was onto something." (TNQSponsorship.com)

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