One cannot think of chess in India without mentioning the legend of the game, Viswanathan Anand. The five-time world chess champion turns 51 on December 11.
The chess champion was born in Chennai where his father worked as a railway manager and his mother was a socialite. It was his mother’s interest in the game that influenced young Viswanathan to pursue it. He began playing against his mother at the age of six.
He became the National Sub-Junior Chess Champion when was 14, and national chess champion at the age of 16. He is also the first-ever Indian to win World Junior Chess Championship.
While a list of his many, many achievements are endless, here are five of most impressive accolades over the years, including wins, titles and other honours.
The Grandmaster title in chess is the highest honour bestowed upon a chess player. It is awarded by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Anand was awarded the title in the year 1988, a title which he will hold for life.
- World Chess Champion
As the name suggests, the World Chess Championship is a competition to determine the best global chess player every year. Anand has won the title an impressive five times in total (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2012). He also won the Undisputed World Champion 4 times.
- Chess Oscar
Though the award ceremony is held no longer, it was a good run for Anand during its existence. The annual award is given to the best global chess player based on votes cast by chess journalists across the globe. Anand won the title (Chess Oscar Best Chess Player) five times, in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, and 2007.
- Highest Indian honours
Anand has been the recipient of multiple Indian honours bestowed by the government.He was granted the second, third, and fourth highest civilian honour over the course of his career. Padma Shri in 1987, Padma Bhushan in 2000, Padma Vibhushan in 2007. He is also the recipient of highest sports honours, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for 1991-92, and Arjuna Award for Outstanding Sportsperson 1985.
- International honours
While he has won many international honours, here are the two most prominent. Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987.The other high honour was for his book, Vishy Anand - My Best Games of Chess and he won the 1998 British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award.