World Champion Vishy Anand turns forty

by ChessBase
12/11/2009 – It seems like just last week that he came visiting for the first time, a highly likeable, immensely talented 18-year-old chessplayer. Today Viswanathan Anand turns forty. He has won all worthwhile titles in chess: world championships, chess Oscars, you name it. In our congratulatory report we look back at dozens of memorable articles on the champ. Join us in wishing him a happy birthday!

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World Champion Viswanathan Anand, 40

Today the reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand turns forty. He was born on 11 December 1969 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, to Vishwanathan, General Manager, Southern Railways, and Susheela, housewife, chess/film/club aficionado and an influential socialite, who taught him to play chess.

Anand held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the world title was split. He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. With this win, he became the first player in chess history to have won the World Championship in three different formats: Knockout, Tournament, and Match. Anand is one of five players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE rating list.

In 2007 Anand was awarded India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan. He is also the first recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India's highest sporting honour.

Click on our feedback button on the left to send Anand greetings (subject: "Anand").
We will pass all greetings on to the champ.

Vishy Anand turns 40. Wish him!

Viswanathan Anand turns 40 today. On the occasion, the chess ace has just one wish -- that the sport be included in the Olympics. "It would be nice to have chess in the Olympics," says the first player to become World champion in all three formats of the game.

After all, having won World titles in the Knock-out, Tournament and Match formats, a medal from the Olympics is the only accolade missing from his showcase.

The World Championship match against Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov that comes up in April-May is Anand's big event for 2010, and he has already started preparing for it in earnest. As he puts it, the Bulgarian is a "very versatile and dangerous player". Sure, he'll need all the luck and backing from his legion of fans to come out tops.

Join us in wishing the king of the 64 squares board a very happy birthday and all the best for the coming year.

Post your wishes (do it!)

Other press reports

விசுவநாதன் ஆனந்த் – what's in a name?

He was named "Anand" at birth, and as a good South Indian Brahmin the name of his father was tagged on, to distinguish him from the hundreds of thousands of other Anands that walk the land. The system is simple: you get a name, one name, and add it to your father's name. This is similar to the Icelandic tradition, except the "son" part (as in Gustavson, Perutursson, etc.) is left out.

Anand with his parents at home in Madras – many years ago, in a country far, far away

Now Anand's father is Viswanathan, an affable Railway executive who loves golf. So it became Viswanathan Anand, which translates roughly to "Viswanathan's son Anand". The spelling is correct, the 's' is usually pronounced "Vish..", which is why the name is sometimes misspelled Vishwanathan. The stress (if any) is on the first syllable: VISH-wah-nah-thaan – with all the 'a's as in 'father'. [Addendum: a friend named Jagdish sent us the this audio file with perfect Indian pronounciation.]

Quick IQ quiz: Anand's father is Krishnamurthy Viswanathan. What is Anand's grandfather's name?

Now the correct way to address Anand is as follows:

  • If you are a stranger and want to show respect call him Mr Anand;
  • If you are a friend or in informal circumstances (in a gym or at a chess tournament) call him Anand;
  • Never call him Mr Viswanathan. That would be simply silly – an unexpected mention of his father.

When Anand first came to visit and stay we all called him Anand (what else?). He was 17 at the time. Some years later – I believe it was during an event in Las Palmas and it was Max Dlugy, but I could be mistaken – I first heard someone refer to him as "Vishy". I thought this was quite rude and asked Anand about it. "No, I'm cool with that", he said. So Vishy it became, and over the years people started calling him Vishy Anand.

Mr and Mrs Anand

When Anand got married his wife Aruna became Aruna Anand. I don't know why in the case of women it appears to be that way around, but I have also heard Anand being referred to as Anand Viswanathan, so maybe it is interchangable. The polite form of address is Mrs Anand, if you know her well you can call her Aruna. (Interestingly her father's name is Ananth, so before her marriage she was Aruna Ananth – talk about minimizing the change!). When they are together Aruna calls him Anand, as in "Aaanand, tell him to stop teasing me!" When she talks about him to other people she may call him Vishy, probably because she knows they will otherwise be confused.

Frederic Friedel

Title page of a 2008 issue of Europe Echecs (click to enlarge)

A selecton of memorable ChessBase reports on Anand

Support teams in chess – All The King’s Men
21.10.2009 – Behind the kings of the chess world, there’s a crack team of knights – or ‘seconds’, as they are called. They work day and night, and spend months together locked up, and once in a while they want to break the tension. In the team of World Champion Viswanathan Anand Coldplay is staple music, but "the guys now also listen to Tamil music." Jaideep Unudurti reports on Outlook Business.

CNN-IBN: Anand on his coming year
27.06.2009 – World Champion Viswanathan Anand is currently in his home town of Chennai, India, preparing for his upcoming events. He spoke about them with the network CNN-IBN – about the rapid chess tournament in Mainz, Germany, an event with Kramnik and Karpov. He also speaks about Indian cricket and about the passing of pop superstar Michael Jackson. Watch the video.

Good humour, personal stories, and the champion's best games
28.11.2008 – Vishy Anand's clear victory at the World Championship in Bonn was the chess highlight of the year. During the match one wag suggested Kramnik might have fared better had he watched Anand's DVDs 'My Career'. Steve Goldberg of Chesscafe did just that and enjoyed the great combination of humour, anecdotes and in-depth annotation in volume two. Buy it now or read more.

Back from Bonn – the hero returns
23.11.2008 – After his remarkable success at the World Championship in Bonn, where he defended his title in a match against Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand has returned to India and his native Chennai to a hero's welcome. The festivities have just begun, but we have first videos from the arrival, where thousands were gathered in spite of the very late hour. Anand and his wife Aruna give interviews – in Tamil. Fascinating.

Bring on Kasparov says Anand
01.11.2008 – That is just one of hundreds of headlines in Indian newspapers and web news agencies. There are interviews and video reports by Indian journalists who were in Bonn for the World Championship match. Anand's parents speak, and wife Aruna admits she is not the only woman behind Anand’s success. We bring you links and excerpts from the most interesting of these effusive reports.

World Championship Picture Gallery of the final day
30.10.2008 The Match in Bonn is over, Anand has won and retained his title. After the final, eleventh game was over there was a brief prize-giving ceremony, a press conference, and then a flurry of phone calls for the World Champion, most from his native India. Finally, a relaxed celebratory dinner with his team, which had emerged for the first time from the workrooms in the hotel. Big pictorial report.

WCC R11: Fighting draw, Anand wins World Championship by 6.5:4.5
29.10.2008 – It was a game of almost unbearable tension. Anand switched to 1.e4, Vladimir Kramnik went for do-or-die complications, Anand obliged, and for a couple of hours nobody knew what would happen. In the end, Vishy Anand prevailed, got a slightly better position and Vladimir Kramnik offered a draw. Anand remains World Champion. First report with comments by Garry Kasparov and Malcolm Pein.

Vishy Anand: 'Chess is like acting'
01.10.2008 – In a rare interview before the World Championship, which begins in less than two weeks in Bonn, Germany, the reigning champion Viswanathan Anand speaks about the title match against Russian Vladimir Kramnik, about his training in the cellar, the role of emotions and his meeting with Bobby Fischer. The story is in the SPIEGEL, one of Europe's largest new portals. Must-read interview.

New DVDs: Anand – My Career in Chess
22.08.2008 – Acclaimed as the "Fastest Brain in the World", Vishy Anand is the world number one and World Champion. Experts rate him as one of the biggest natural talents in the history of the game. Easy-going and humorous, he is also one of the best-loved players. Now he has recorded two ChessBase DVDs on his career, with a total of over eight hours of video comments and annotations. Order now.

AMD plays its first game with Vishy Anand
26.06.2008 – The World Chess Champion has signed a deal with Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), the company that develops computer processors and related technologies and is the second-largest global supplier of microprocessors. Anand is now the brand model for AMD, which is driving large ad campaigns with him. We bring you the first TV ad and some cool wallpaper.

Devil's Advocate: Viswanathan Anand on mind games
13.05.2008 – World chess champion Viswanathan Anand is set for his title-defending match against challenger Vladimir Kramnik in October. Anand says Kramnik's challenge and taunts don't bother him because he believes "the main thing" is to win. "My own tendency is to just ignore him," Anand told Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate in CNN-IBN Live. Videos and transcripts.

A personal portrait of World Champion Anand
23.12.2007 – The Indian network CNN-IBN has published an extraordinary TV portrait of Viswanathan Anand. In it Anand himself, his wife Aruna, his and her parents, friends, trainers, colleagues, all talk about the nation's favourite son. This includes music, food, clothing, travel, hobbies, ambitions, salsa and kickboxing. Yes, kickboxing. Take some time to watch this broadcast. It is a Christmas treat.

The Homecoming – Anand arrives in Chennai
18.10.2007 – The new world chess champion, Viswanathan Anand, hails from Madras in South India, a city today known as Chennai. After a brief sojourn in Delhi Anand at last flew into his home town, where he was awaited by tens of thousands of fans. It was not easy to get shots of the champion in the throng. Our reporter Arvind Aaron did his best and presents visual impressions.

Anand mobbed on arrival in India
16.10.2007 – This is what happens when you become world champion and one billion fans are waiting for you to return to your native country. Viswanathan Anand arrived just after midnight in New Delhi, where chaotic scenes ensued while press and public jostled to get a glimpse of him. Anand took it in his stride and on Monday evening visited the president of the country. News reports.

World Championship Mexico: the closing ceremony
01.10.2007 – After his win on Saturday night Vishy Anand was treated to a fine victory dinner by his hosts. Then, on Sunday, a long day of activies followed, crowned by the celebrations and festivities of the closing ceremony, in which the new world champion was crowned. Now it is Sunday night, muy tarde – very late. Before we embark on our return trip we bring you pictorial impressions.

Who is this chess player – it was the Vish!
10.09.2007 – We asked you to guess who this smart young boy was, and provided some more or less helpful clues. Turns out it was Vishy Anand at six, depicted in an interesing article written by Manisha Mohite for the Indian news portal Sify, which printed a retrospect for the 60th anniversary of Indian Independence. Today, of course, Anand is the world's number one. The Story of Indian Chess

Susheela Viswanathan: 'I am a very proud mother'
04.04.2007 – After Vishy Anand had bagged Morelia/Linares it became obvious that he would soon appear as the world's strongest player on the FIDE ratings list. In India his parent bore the brunt of the media frenzy that ensued. Both mother Shusheela and father Viswanathan were persuaded to write short pieces about their famous and well beloved son. Very interesting insights.

Four-part indepth portrait of Vishy Anand

Anand on chess – from square one to the World Championship in Bonn
19.02.2009 – Viswanathan Anand has won it all: the knockout, tournament and match world championships, blitz and rapid – you name it. He is the strongest Indian chess player in history, and one of the strongest in the world, ever. In a multi-hour interview Anand sat down with Indian journalists and described his career, candidly and in rare detail. Today you can read the first section: part one – the early years.

Anand on chess as a profession and on computers
23.02.2009 – World Champion Viswanathan Anand was one of the pioneers in the use of computers for chess. He started using chess database just months after Kasparov, and stuck with information technology ever since. In part two of his indepth interview Anand also speaks about books, professional chess and sporting heros. We have dug up some unique hstorical pictures.

Anand in interview – on intuition, creativity and blitz chess
14.03.2009 – In the past month we brought you two sections of an unprecedented in-depth interview conducted by Indian colleagues with World Champion Viswanathan Anand. Today we continue the series with Anand's take on game formats, computer moves (ugly or creative?), Karpov, Kasparov, and secretly watching people on the chess servers. Part three of four.

Anand on the World Championship in Bonn
08.04.2009 – In the fourth and final part of our interview series Viswanathan Anand talks about his games against Vladimir Kramnik last October. When did his seconds tell him he had missed a forced mate? When did he decide to play 1.d4 with white? How close exactly was game five, and how many minutes before its start did he decide what to play? Fascinating insights.

Anand – My Career in Chess

In March 2007 Vishwanathan Anand reached the number one spot on the world ranking lists by winning the prestigious Linares tournament. In September 2007 Anand won the World Championship for the second time in his career, when in Mexico he became the undisputed World Chess Champion, ending a schism in the chess world which had lasted for many years.

If his talent as a rapid chess player is legendary, his records in classical chess have been superlative. In January 2006 he became the only player in the tournament's 70-year history to win the Corus Chess event five times (1989, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2006). He has won the Linares Super Tournament twice (1998 and 2007), the Dortmund GM three times (1996, 2000 and 2004), and countless other important events like, Madrid Masters, Biel, etc.

Anand: My Career Vol. 1

The first DVD with videos from Anand's chess career reflects the very beginning of that career and goes as far as 1999. It starts with his memories of how he first learned chess and shows his first great games (including those from the 1984 World Championship for juniors). The high point of his early developmental phase was the winning of the 1987 WCh for juniors. After that, things continue in quick succession: the first victories over Kasparov, World Championship candidate in both the FIDE and PCA cycles, and the high point of the World Championship match against Kasparov in 1995.

3:48 hours playing time.

Anand: My Career Vol. 2

The second DVD begins in 2000, when Anand became FIDE World Champion, and it ends with his victory in the 2007 World Championship in Mexico. Anand not only analyses his best games, but casts a look back at the World Championshp in Delhi/Teheran in 2000 and the years before, he discusses the situation in the Bundesliga and Kasparov's retirement from tournament chess.

4:28 hours playing time.

Price per volume:

32.90 incl. VAT
27.65 without VAT (for Customers outside the European Union)
42.85 US $ (without VAT)

Click to order

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