Anand's mother Sushila passes away

5/27/2015 – Sushila Viswanathan, the mother of five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand, passed away on May 26. She was 79. Sushila hailed from a family of lawyers who played chess. Besides teaching her son the basic moves, she played and nurtured him into the champion he is today. Clearly she is a role model parent for the present generations. Eulogy by the AICF.

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Sushila Viswanathan Has Passed Away

By Arvind Aaron

P.R. Venkatarama Raja, President Al India Chess Federation and Vice Chairman Ramco group, who was the main sponsor during Anand’s formative years, expressed his heartfelt condolences on the demise of Sushila Viswanathan. He recalled her dedicated efforts in making Anand a Champion chess player.

Sushila Viswanathan, the mother of five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand passed away on May 26. She was 79. The last rites will be held at 10.00.A.M. on 28.05.2015 at Besant Nagar crematorium, Tamilnadu.

Sushila hailed from a family of lawyers who played chess. Besides teaching him the basic moves, she played and nurtured him into a champion. Clearly she is a role model parent for the present generations.

While her husband K. Viswanathan was the General Manager of the Southern Railway, she also managed and helped the career of Anand. Shaping up Anand’s chess, his education in his formative years, her contribution towards chess was immense.

When she accompanied Anand to various events, like the Ahmedabad National ‘B’ in 1983, she sacrificed by staying in less comfortable accommodation that is hard to imagine today. Thanks to Anand, the profile of the game changed so much that the present generation of the chess players stand to gain from it.

Sushila and K. Vishwanathan with their son

“We recognised his talent at the right time,” said Sushila Viswanathan when Anand won the World Title for the first time in Tehran 2000. At that time she was 64. “Thrilled. Anand’s triumph did not come as a surprise for us.” She was sure that one day he is going to win the world title.

She was a perfect example for parental motivation. After Anand had lost the Sanghinagar Match in August 1994 to Gata Kamsky, she received him at the Chennai airport, as she had not come to Hyderabad. However, six months later, when Anand got another match against Kamsky at Las Palmas, Spain in March 1995, she ensured that she visited there, and this time the result was reverse! Anand came from a game down to win this match and emerge as World Championship challenger for the first time.

Later, in her 70s, she had come to receive him at the airport after winning World Championships. In the picture above she is together with her sister-in-law and Madras High Court Justice Mrs Prabha Sridevan (left) at the Chennai Airport.

She leaves behind her husband K. Viswanathan, daughter and two sons of whom Anand is the youngest. In her death, chess has lost the biggest motivator Indian chess has seen. Indian chess fraternity mourns her death.

On a personal note

In the summer of 1991 the Friedel family visited Anand in his home in Chennai. They were given a very warm welcome by Anand's mother and father, spending a lovely afternoon reminiscing about the boy's chess career – he was just 22 at the time – and admiring his trophies and memorabilia.

Anand, Frederic Friedel, Sushila Viswanathan, Ingrid Friedel, sons Thomas and Martin ...

... joined by Anand's father, K. Viswanathan

We will never forget the visit in this house in Chennai, or the reception we received. They made us feel so welcome and at home. Our heartfelt condolences to Viswanathan, to Anand and their family. Sushila, you are in so many ways the mother of Indian chess!

Frederic Friedel

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