Once upon a time, a boy was traveling in the train. After some time the seat was exerted by an old man. He then asked the adjacent man about his career and the man responded that he makes a living by playing chess. The old man became serious and stared at the man and advised him to change his career as sports is not a well paying profession. The man became serious. After taking a pause, the old man said I mean you can’t make a career and a good living in chess unless you are Vishwanathan Anand. Both the old man and the adjacent man laughed their heart off. Well the adjacent man was none other than Vishwanathan Anand itself.

Such is the legacy of Vishwanathan Anand that people remember the game – chess by his name. He is the honor to the Indian chess legacy and guiding light to all the upcoming chess players therein. 

Details of Viahwanathan Anand

Viahwanathan Anand was born on 11 December 1969 is an Indian chess grandmaster and a former five-time World Chess Champion.  He became the first grandmaster from India in 1988, and is one of the few players to have surpassed an Elo rating of 2800, a feat he first achieved in 2006. In 2022, he was elected the deputy president of FIDE.

Talking about his early life, Anand was taught how to play chess by his mother and a close family friend named Deepa Ramakrishnan. He described his start in chess thus:

I started when I was six. My mother taught me how to play. In fact, my mother used to do a lot for my chess. We moved to the Philippines shortly afterward. I joined the club in India and we moved to the Philippines for a year. And there they had a TV program that was on in the afternoon, one to two or something like that, when I was in school. So she would write down all the games that they showed and the puzzles, and in the evening we solved them together.

Of course my mother and her family used to play some chess, and she used to play with her younger brother, so she had some background in chess, but she never went to a club or anything like that.

So we solved all these puzzles and sent in our answers together. And they gave the prize of a book to the winner. And over the course of many months, I won so many prizes. At one point they just said take all the books you want, but don’t send in any more entries.

Such is our grand master, he is the epitome of perfection since his childhood days. 

Counting onto his achievements, Anand has received many national and international awards.

Indian national honors

  • Arjuna Award for Outstanding Indian sports person in Chess in 1985.
  • Padma Shri – Fourth highest civilian award awarded by Government of India in 1987.
  • The inaugural Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sporting honor in the years 1991–1992.
  • Padma Bhushan – Third highest civilian award awarded by Government of India in 2000.
  • Padma Vibhushan – Second highest civilian award awarded by Government of India in 2007

Vishwanathan Anand is not just limited to India rather with his sheer talent, he has turned the international tables therein. He has been awarded with international honors as well. 

Other honors

  • National Citizens Award and Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987
  • British Chess Federation “Book of the Year” Award in 1998 for his book My Best Games of Chess
  • Anand has won the Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. The Chess Oscar is awarded to the year’s best player according to a worldwide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists conducted by the Russian chess magazine 64.
  • Sportstar Best Sportsperson of the Year for 1995
  • Sportstar Millennium Award in 1998, from India’s premier sports magazine for being the sportsperson of the millennium.
  • Nilesh Murali and Rahul Desirazu Excellence in Chess Award (2004, 2007)
  • “Global Strategist Award” for mastering many formats of World Chess Championships by NASSCOM in 2011.
  • Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa honored Anand with a cheque of ₹2 crore (US$250,000), for winning the World Chess Championship for the fifth time.
  • In 2012, he received the “Indian sportsperson of the year” and “Indian of the year” awards.

At the end, here goes a question- who is the kindest and gracious chess player in the history of chess ? 

It has to be Vishy Anand.

The true test of graciousness happens when a GM loses a game. There you see where a GM stands in regard to “graciousness”. Everyone is quick to praise an opponent when he has beat the hell out of him, tapping the back of the guy like “yeah, you did good, what a great player you are. Next time you’ll do better”. So easy to do when you are with the adrenaline rush that victory provides.

Final Thought

Losing a game is the worst thing that can happen to a top-level GM. Chess is a game where the use of intellectual power is very high, so when another intellectual power beats you it feels like shit. You need to come up with some excuse to recover from it, otherwise you can end up losing all your self-esteem and become a psychological mess.

Anand is the only player that I’ve seen who is able to consistently praise his opponents after a loss and come back stronger. That’s one of the reasons he is so respected among chess players and why he is a role model in his home country: he always acts like a statesman.


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