Vishy Anand: "My Career" - A Review

by Priyadarshan Banjan
1/19/2015 – Vishy Anand, currently number five in the world, is already a legend. The 15th World Champion has been among the World's best players for decades now, and he turned India into a chess country. After becoming World Champion in 2007, the eloquent World Champion recorded two ChessBase DVDs about his career. Still fascinating and profound stories and chess lessons.

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Vishy Anand: "My Career": A review

"The impact that Vishy made for chess in India is unsurpassed. He is a national hero in his homeland and he revolutionized Indian chess." - Susan Polgar

If you ask chess players from India what prompted them to play chess, you will very often get the same answer: Vishwanathan Anand. He is India's first grandmaster and single-handedly put the country in which the game originated, on the modern chess map. And even though still active and strong, he is already considered as one of the best players to have ever played our game. Sometimes, it needs one person people can identify with to start a whole movement. For chess in India Vishy Anand was that person.

So it is good to know that Vishy Anand himself speaks about his career and games on two ChessBase DVDs. He chronicles his journey from a young and hungry amateur in India to World Champion. A fitting tribute to his name (or rather, his father's!), which in Sanskrit means 'Lord of the world'.

Though the second DVD finishes with Anand's win in the World Championship tournament in Mexico 2007 which made Anand the 15th World Champion in the history of chess, and thus does not cover the most recent successes and setbacks of Anand's career, it is a still a pleasure to watch Anand talk chess. In his inimitable style he tells stories from his career, and you cannot help but smile and admire his almost childlike innocence and devotion to chess.

"Chess is like a language, the top players are very fluent at it..."-Vishy Anand

But of course the DVDs offer more than stories. You also get chess lessons from a former World Champion, and thus the DVDs offer an educational trip through chess heartland. Anand takes you through some of his most memorable games from his career. He focuses on critical moments, explains crucial concepts, and explains how he thinks, and finds his moves. A revelation - Anand does not talk "about" chess, he talks chess. An example:

V. Anand - P. Blatny, World Junior Championship, 1987; White has a dangerous passed h-pawn.
But how does he win?

In this game from volume 1 Black just played ...Kb6. As Anand explains, White should strive to make his c- or his d-pawn into a passed pawn to force the black king out of its pawn shield.


V. Anand - P. Blatny, World Junior Championship, 1987.
The d-pawn now is a passed pawn. But how does White win?



Anand's revealing and clear explanations are supported by variations that just seem to come naturally to him. And you are invited to take part: at key moments Anand asks you to pause the video and figure out his next move. The following game is taken from the second volume of My Career and gives you a chance to show your tactical alertness. It is remarkable how Anand continuously takes care to improve his pieces. He again and again puts them on their best squares, like a skilful manager who assigns jobs which best suit the environment and abilities of his employees.


V. Anand - M. Carlsen, 2007; imagine yourself in Vishy's chair. How will you proceed?


Anand-Carlsen, 2007; can you calculate what happens after 24.Bg5 f6?


V. Anand - M. Carlsen; did you see 25.Nxe5! ?

Both volumes of My Career come packed with stories and observations, which Anand enchantingly presents together with his games. He talks about his junior years in Madras, India, how he went with his parents to Manila, which at that time experienced a chess boom, recounts his first big breakthrough, and provides insights into life on the tournament circuit. At the end of volume 2 he finishes his autobiographical account of his way to the World Championship with a tribute to his parents who have played a major role in his career.

However, Anand does not only talk about this triumphs, he also remembers setbacks and disappointments such as his trials and tribulations in the FIDE World Championship match against Karpov 1998, in Lausanne. As the FIDE rules would have it, he had to win a gruelling knock out tournament in Groningen first to gain the right to play a fresh and ready Karpov for the FIDE title - only three days after the qualifier had ended. In a display of stamina Anand won the last of game of the six-game match to level the score to 3-3 and to take the match into a rapid tie-break. Here, however, the stress just proved too much and Anand lost the match. But his time was definitely to come.

In volume 2 he recounts how he won the FIDE World Championship two years later in Teheran, and won the World Championship tournament in Mexico 2007 ahead of Vladimir Kramnik to become the 15th World Champion!

These two DVDs in which Vishy Anand retells his Career are packed with insightful chess analysis and memorable stories. They are heartily recommended, to every chess player at any level.

Vishy Anand:
My Career, Volume 1



This DVD can be purchased as a hard copy or it can be downloaded directly from the Internet, that way sparing you the few days needed for it to arrive by post.

Order this Fritztrainer in the ChessBase Shop

Vishy Anand:
My Career, Volume 2



This DVD can be purchased as a hard copy or it can be downloaded directly from the Internet, that way sparing you the few days needed for it to arrive by post.

Order this Fritztrainer in the ChessBase Shop

Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.


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