Anand was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India's highest sporting honour. In 2007, he was awarded India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award.
Viswanathan Anand was born on 11 December 1969 at Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu in a Tamil Brahmin family, where he grew up. His father Krishnamurthy Viswanathan, a retired general manager of Southern Railways, had studied in Jamalpur, Bihar, and his mother Sushila was a housewife, chess aficionado and an influential socialite.
Anand is the youngest of 3 children. He is 11 years younger than his sister and 13 years younger than his brother. His elder brother, Shivakumar, is a manager at Crompton Greaves in India and his elder sister, Anuradha, is a professor in the United States at the University of Michigan.
Anand learned chess from age six from his mother Sushila, but learned the intricacies of the game in Manila where he lived with his father in 1978 up to the 80's who was contracted as a consultant by the Philippine National Railways.
Anand married Aruna in 1996 and has a son, Akhil, born on 9 April 2011.
In August 2010, Anand joined the board of directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation for promoting and supporting India's elite sportspersons and potential young talent. On 24 December 2010, Anand was the guest of honour on the grounds of Gujarat University, where 20,486 players created a new world record of simultaneous chess play at a single venue.
His hobbies are reading, swimming, and listening to music.
Anand has been regarded as an unassuming person with a reputation for refraining from political and psychological ploys and instead focusing on his game. This has made him a well-liked figure throughout the chess world for two decades, evidenced by the fact that Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, and Magnus Carlsen, of whom the first two were rivals for the World Championship throughout Anand's career, each aided him in his preparations for the World Chess Championship 2010. Anand is sometimes known as the "Tiger of Madras".
Anand was the only sportsperson to be invited for the dinner hosted by the Indian PM Manmohan Singh for US President Barack Obama on 7 November 2010.
Anand was denied an honorary doctorate from University of Hyderabad because of confusion over his citizenship status; however, later Kapil Sibal, India's Minister of Human Resource Development apologised and said "There is no issue on the matter as Anand has agreed to accept the degree at a convenient time depending on his availability". According to The Hindu, Anand finally declined to accept the doctorate.
Anand's mother Sushila Viswanathan died on 26 May 2015.
Early chess career
Anand's rise in the Indian chess world was meteoric. National level success came early for him when he won the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship with a score of 9/9 in 1983 at the age of fourteen. In 1984 Anand won the Asian Junior Chess Championship in Coimbatore earning an International Master norm. He became the youngest Indian to achieve the title of International Master at the age of fifteen, in 1985 by winning the Asian Junior Championship for the second year in a row, this time in Hong Kong. At the age of sixteen he became the national chess champion. He won that title two more times. He played games at blitz speed. In 1987, he became the first Indian to win the World Junior Chess Championship. In 1988, at the age of 18, he became India's first Grandmaster by winning the Shakti Finance International chess tournament held in Coimbatore, India. He was awarded Padma Shri at the age of eighteen.
In 1994–95 Anand and Gata Kamsky dominated the qualifying cycles for the rival FIDE and PCA world championships. In the FIDE cycle (FIDE World Chess Championship 1996), Anand lost his quarter-final match to Kamsky after leading early. Kamsky went on to lose the 1996 FIDE championship match against Karpov.
In the 1998 FIDE cycle, the reigning champion Karpov was granted direct seeding by FIDE into the final against the winner of the seven-round single elimination Candidates tournament. The psychological and physical advantage gained by Karpov from this decision caused significant controversy, leading to the withdrawal of future World Champion Vladimir Kramnik from the candidates tournament. Anand won the candidates tournament, defeating Michael Adams in the final, and immediately faced a well-rested Karpov for the championship. Despite this tremendous disadvantage for Anand, which he described as being "brought in a coffin" to play Karpov, the regular match ended 3–3, which led to a rapid playoff, which Karpov won 2–0. Karpov thus remained the FIDE champion.
Anand won three consecutive Advanced Chess tournaments in Leon, Spain, after Garry Kasparov introduced this form of chess in 1998, and is widely recognised as the world's best Advanced Chess player, where humans may consult a computer to aid in their calculation of variations.
His game collection, My Best Games of Chess, was published in the year 1998 and was updated in 2001.
Anand's tournament successes include the Corus chess tournament in 2006 (tied with Veselin Topalov), Dortmund in 2004, and Linares in 2007 and 2008. He has won the annual event Monaco Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Championships in years 1994, 1997, 2003, 2005 and 2006. He is the first player to have won five titles of the Corus chess tournament, succeeded by Magnus Carlsen. He is also the only player to win the blind and rapid sections of the Amber tournament in the same year (twice: in 1997 and 2005). He is the first player to have achieved victories in each of the three big chess supertournaments: Corus (1989, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006), Linares (1998, 2007, 2008), and Dortmund (1996, 2000, 2004).
In 2007 he won the Grenkeleasing Rapid championship, which he won for the tenth time defeating Armenian GM Levon Aronian. Incidentally, just a few days before Aronian had defeated Anand in the Chess960 final.
In March 2007, Anand won the Linares chess tournament and it was widely believed that he would be ranked world No. 1 in the FIDEElo rating list for April 2007. However, Anand was placed No. 2 in the initial list released because the Linares result was not included. FIDE subsequently announced that the Linares results would be included after all, making Anand number one in the April 2007 list.
Anand won the Mainz 2008 Supertournament Championship by defeating rising star Magnus Carlsen, earning his eleventh title in that event.
After several near misses, Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 for the first time after defeating Alexei Shirov 3½–0½ in the final match held at Tehran, thereby becoming the first Indian to win that title. Entering the tournament as the #1 overall seed, Anand defeated Alexander Khalifman, the defending FIDE world champion, 3½–2½ in the quarterfinals and followed the win up with a semifinals victory over Michael Adams of England, 2½–1½. In addition to the title of FIDE world champion, Anand received a $528,000 cash prize. He finished the tournament with 8 wins and 12 draws.
In September 2007, Anand entered the FIDE World Championship Tournament in Mexico City as the world's top-ranked player. Playing in a double round-robin tournament, Anand scored victories over Levon Aronian, Peter Leko, and Peter Svidler to take the lead after five rounds. In the 13th round, Anand played a precise endgame to stave off a tough challenge from Alexander Grischuk, and entered the final round needing only a draw against Leko to clinch the championship. Following Anand's draw with Leko, he was named the undisputed World champion. He won the tournament with a final score of 9 out of 14 points, a full point ahead of joint second-place finishers Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand.
In 2000, when Anand won the FIDE World Championship, there was also the rival "Classical" World Championship, held by Kramnik. By 2007, the world championship had been reunified, so Anand's victory in Mexico City made him undisputed World Chess Champion. He became the first undisputed champion to win the title in a tournament, rather than in matchplay, since Mikhail Botvinnik in 1948.
In October 2007, Anand said he liked the double round robin championship format (as used in the 2007 championship in Mexico City), and that the right of Kramnik to automatically challenge for the title was "ridiculous".
Anand convincingly defended the title against Kramnik in the World Chess Championship 2008 held 14–29 October in Bonn, Germany. The winner was to be the first to score 6½ points in the twelve-game match. Anand won by scoring 6½ points in 11 games, having won three of the first six games (two with the black pieces). After the tenth game, Anand led 6–4 and needed only a draw in either of the last two games to win the match. In the eleventh game, Kramnik played the Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defense. Once the players traded queens, Kramnik offered a draw after 24 moves since he had no winning chances in the endgame.
Responding to Anand's win, Garry Kasparov said "A great result for Anand and for chess. Vishy deserved the win in every way and I'm very happy for him. It will not be easy for the younger generation to push him aside... Anand out-prepared Kramnik completely. In this way it reminded me of my match with Kramnik in London 2000. Like I was then, Kramnik may have been very well prepared for this match, but we never saw it." In 2010 Anand donated his gold medal to the charitable organisation "The Foundation" to be auctioned off for the benefit of underprivileged children.
Before the World Chess Championship 2010 match with Veselin Topalov, Anand, who had booked on the flight Frankfurt–Sofia on 16 April, was stranded due to the cancellation of all flights following the volcano ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull. Anand asked for a three-day postponement, which the Bulgarian organisers refused on 19 April. Anand eventually reached Sofia on 20 April, after a 40-hour road journey.
Consequently, the first game was delayed by one day.
The match consisted of 12 games. In Game 1, Topalov quickly defeated Anand in 30 moves, utilizing a very sharp line of attack that broke through Anand's Grunfeld Defence. It was revealed afterwards that Topalov had found the line during his opening preparation, with the help of a powerful supercomputer loaned to him by Bulgaria's Defense Department. Anand quickly responded with a win in Game 2, employing a novelty out of the Catalan Opening that was not easily recognized by computers at the time (15. Qa3!?, followed by 16. bxa3!). Anand would win again with the Catalan in Game 4, only to drop Game 8 and leave the score level once again. After 11 games the score was tied at 5½–5½. Anand won game 12 on the Black side of a Queen's Gambit Declined to win the game and the match. Topalov chose to accept a pawn sacrifice by Anand, hoping to force a result and avoid a rapid chess tiebreak round. But after Topalov's dubious 31st and 32nd moves, Anand used the sacrifice to obtain a strong attack against Topalov's relatively exposed king. Topalov subsequently resigned, allowing Anand to retain the World Championship.
As a result of Anand's victory in the World Chess Championship 2010, he defended his title in the World Chess Championship 2012; the location of the event was the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. His opponent was Boris Gelfand, the winner of the 2011 Candidates Matches. After losing in the 7th game to Gelfand, Anand came back to win the 8th game in only 17 moves – the shortest decisive game in World Chess Championship history. The match was tied 6–6 after regular games with one win each. Anand won the rapid tie break 2½–1½ to win the match and retain his title. After the match, Russian president Vladimir Putin greeted Anand and Gelfand by calling both to his official residence.
Anand lost the defence of his title in the World Chess Championship 2013 at Chennai. The winner was Magnus Carlsen, the winner of the 2013 Candidates Tournament. The first four games were drawn, but Carlsen won the fifth and sixth games back to back. The seventh and eighth games were drawn, while the ninth game was won by Carlsen. On 22 November, the tenth game was drawn making Carlsen the new world champion.
Anand won the double round-robin FIDE Candidates tournament at Khanty-Mansiysk (13–30 March) and earned a world championship rematch with Magnus Carlsen. Anand went through the tournament undefeated, winning his first-round game against Levon Aronian, his third-round game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, and his ninth-round game against Veselin Topalov. He drew all his other games, including his twelfth-round game against Dmitry Andreikin, where Anand agreed to a draw in a complex, but winning position. He faced Carlsen in the world championship match in November, in Sochi, Russia. Carlsen won the match 6.5 to 4.5 after eleven of twelve scheduled games.
FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion 2003
In October 2003, the governing body of chess, FIDE, organised a rapid time control tournament in Cap d'Agde and billed it as the World Rapid Chess Championship. Each player had 25 minutes at the start of the game, with an additional ten seconds after each move. Anand won this event ahead of ten of the other top twelve players in the world, beating Kramnik in the final. His main recent titles in this category are at: Corsica (six years in a row from 1999 through 2005), Chess Classic (nine years in a row from 2000 through 2008), Leon 2005, Eurotel 2002, Fujitsu Giants 2002 and the Melody Amber (five times, and he won the rapid portion of Melody Amber seven times). In the Melody Amber 2007, Anand did not lose a single game in the rapid section, and scored 8½/11, two more than the runners-up, for a performance rating in the rapid section of 2939. In most tournament time control games that Anand plays, he has more time left than his opponent at the end of the game. He lost on time in one game, to Gata Kamsky. Otherwise, he took advantage of the rule allowing players in time trouble to use dashes instead of the move notation during the last four minutes only once, in the game Anand versus Svidler at the MTel Masters 2006.
2010 Sofia World Chess Championship: From 24 April – 11 May 2010, Anand participated in a World Championship match against Veselin Topalov. Topalov gained direct entry into a challengers match against Gata Kamsky, as compensation from FIDE for not gaining entry into the 2007 World Chess Championship cycle. Because Topalov defeated Kamsky, he earned the right to challenge Anand for the World Chess Championship title. The match was level after 11 games — with 2 wins apiece in Rounds 1, 2, 4, and 8. Finally, in Game 12, Anand was able to defeat Topalov with the Black pieces and hold on to his title.
20th Amber Tournament 2011: From 11 to 25 March 2011, Anand participated in the 20th and final Amber Chess tournament, held in the city of Monte Carlo in Monaco. The tournament was broken into a Blindfold tournament and a Rapid Tournament. Anand scored 7 points out of a possible 11 in the Blindfold tournament (4 wins and 0 losses). In the Rapid tournament, Anand 6 points out of 11 (+4-3=4).
Anand-Kasimdzhanov Match: On 27 March 2011, Anand played a friendly 4-game rapid match with one of his seconds, Rustam Kasimdzhanov. The match took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Anand won the match 3.5-0.5 (the first game being a draw and the rest in Anand's favor).
Anand-Shirov Match: From 2–6 June 2011, Anand played in the 24th León Masters Tournament (XXIV Magistral de Ajedrez Ciudad de Leon Match). It was a rapid match between Viswanathan Anand and Alexei Shirov, consisting of two games a day between 3 and 5 June with a time control of 60 minutes + 30 seconds per move. Anand defeated Shirov 4.5-1.5 to win the match (+3-0=3).
Tal Memorial 2011: The 6th Tal Memorial tournament took place from 16 to 25 June 2011. The tournament was a 10-player, 9-round single round robin played in Moscow, Russia. Anand scored 50%, with a perfect 9 draws out of 9. Magnus Carlsen eventually was declared the winner of the tournament on a tiebreak, having finished equal in points Levon Aronian.
2011 Bilbao Masters — Grand Slam: From 25 September – 11 October 2011, Anand participated in the 4th Bilbao Masters tournament. The tournament was a 6-player double-round-robin, played using the soccer-like scoring system (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss). The other five participants included Magnus Carlsen, Vassily Ivanchuk, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, and Francisco Vallejo Pons. Anand finished tied 3rd to 5th (same number of points as Nakamura and Aronian), winning 2 games and losing 2 games and earning him 12 points out of a maximum 30.
Corsican Masters Knockout: From 22 to 31 October 2011, Anand won the Corsican Masters Knockout Tournament, held in Ajaccio, Corsica. The tournament started out with an open tournament, where the top 14 players after 9 rounds joined Shakriyar Mamedyarov and Viswanathan Anand in a 16-player knockout tournament. Anand and Mamedyarov both made it to the final round and Anand defeated Mamedyarov 2-0.
In 2012, Viswanathan Anand participated in several high level tournaments, including the London Chess Classic and the Bilbao Masters Grand Slam. Earlier in 2012, he also played a World Championship match against Boris Gelfand in Moscow, Russia.
2012 Moscow World Chess Championship: From 10 to 30 May 2012, Anand participated in a World Championship match against Boris Gelfand. Earlier in 2011, Boris Gelfand had won the 2012 World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament in Kazan, Russia. The championship was a scheduled 12-game match, played in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia. The 12-game match was level after 12 games — with 1 win a piece in Rounds 7 and 8. Anand had won one of the shortest decisive chess games in World Chess Championship, in 17 moves. Anand was able to retain his title after defeating Gelfand in the following 4-game rapid match.
2012 Bilbao Masters — Grand Slam: From 24 September – 13 October 2012, Anand participated in the 5th Bilbao Masters tournament. The tournament was a 6-player double-round-robin, played using the soccer-like scoring system (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss). The other five participants included Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Francisco Vallejo Pons, Levon Aronian, and Sergey Karjakin. Anand finished in the bottom half of the tournament, finishing 5th place out of 6 with a -1 score (losing 1 game to Magnus Carlsen in Round 9).
4th London Chess Classic: From 1 to 10 December, Anand participated in the 2012 London Chess Classic. The tournament was a 9-player round-robin tournament, with points earned using the soccer-like scoring system. Because of the odd number of players in the tournament, 1 player was required to sit out every single round. Therefore, each player played exactly 8 games with 24 maximum points. Anand finished on 50%, by winning 1 game (to Gawain Jones) and losing 1 game (to Michael Adams). The eventual winner of the tournament was Magnus Carlsen, who earned 18 points out of 24 (scoring his 5 wins against the 3 British grandmasters — Michael Adams, Gawain Jones, and Luke McShane — and against Levon Aronian and Judit Polgar).
Anand participated in several high-level tournaments in 2013, including the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, Grenke Chess Classic, Zurich Chess Challenge, Alekhine Memorial, Tal Memorial, the 1st Norway Chess Tournament, and the London Chess Classic. He also participated in the 2013 World Chess Championship match against Magnus Carlsen.
GRENKE Chess Classic Baden-Baden 2013: From 7 to 17 February 2013, Anand participated in the 2013 GRENKE Chess Classic, a tournament held in the German city of Baden-Baden. The other participants included Fabiano Caruana, Michael Adams, Arkadij Naiditsch, Daniel Fridman and Georg Meier. Anand took clear 1st place after scoring 6.5 points out of 10, defeating Naiditsch twice in their two encounters in the tournament and Daniel Fridman once.
2nd Zurich Chess Challenge: From 23 February – 1 March 2013, Anand participated in the Zurich Chess Challenge 2013, along with Fabiano Caruana, Vladimir Kramnik, and Boris Gelfand. The tournament was a 4-player double-round robin, played in Zurich, Switzerland. Caruana won the tournament by scoring 4 points out of 6 (scoring victories over Anand and Gelfand) while Anand finished 2nd with 50% (moving to an equal score after defeating Kramnik in the final round).
Tal Memorial 2013: The 8th Tal Memorial tournament took place from 12 to 24 June June 2013. The tournament was a 10-player, 9-round single round robin played in Moscow, Russia. Viswanathan Anand scored 2nd place in the Blitz tournament that decided the color order for the main classical tournament (behind winner Hikaru Nakamura). In the classical tournament, Anand scored 9th place out of 10, scoring 1 win against Alexander Morozevich but losing to Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, and Magnus Carlsen. Boris Gelfand took clear first place with 6/9, half a point clear of Magnus Carlsen.
2013 Chennai World Chess Championship: From 9 to 22 November 2013, Anand participated in a World Championship match against Magnus Carlsen. Earlier in the year, Carlsen had won the 2013 London Candidates Tournament. The championship was a scheduled 12-game match, played in Anand's hometown of Chennai, India, in the Hyatt Regency Chennai 5-star hotel. Anand lost the match 6.5 - 3.5, unable to win a single game and losing 3 games. The match only lasted 10 games before Carlsen was declared the winner.
5th London Chess Classic: From 7 to 15 December, Anand participated in the 2013 London Chess Classic. The tournament was a Super 16 Rapid Tournament, where 16 players were broken up into 4 mini groups and the top-scoring participants from each group played in a knockout rapid tournament. Anand was knocked out by Vladimir Kramnik in the quarterfinals. The eventual winner of the tournament was Hikaru Nakamura, who defeated Boris Gelfand in the finals.
Viswanathan Anand won the World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament, which earned him a rematch against Magnus Carlsen for the World Championship. He also participated in the Dubai World Rapid and Blitz Championships, Zurich Chess Challenge, Bilbao Masters, and London Chess Classic.
3rd Zurich Chess Challenge: From 29 January – 4 February 2014, Anand participated in the Zurich Chess Challenge 2014. A Blitz Tournament on the opening day was played to determine the colors distribution for the Classical Tournament. The classical tournament consisted of 5 games played with classical time control. The last day of the tournament consisted of 5 rapid games. The classical games were worth 2 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, while the Rapid and Blitz games were worth 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, thus placing greater importance on each classical result. Anand scored 2.5 points out of 5 in the Blitz tournament. In the Classical phase of the tournament, Anand scored 2 points out of 5, losing his first two games to Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura respectively, drawing against Fabiano Caruana and Magnus Carlsen in Rounds 3 and 5 respectively, and defeating Boris Gelfand in Round 4. In the final Rapid tournament, Anand finished last, scoring 1 point out of 5 (+0-3=2). In the entirety of the tournament, Anand in 5th place out of 6.
2014 World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament: As part of the qualification cycle for the World Chess Championship 2014, Viswanathan Anand participated in the Candidates Tournament, held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from 13–31 March 2014 in the Ugra Chess Academy. The participants of the tournament included Veselin Topalov and Shakriyar Mamedyarov, both of whom qualified through winning the top two spots in the FIDE Grand Prix 2012–13. Viswanathan Anand won the Candidates Tournament by remaining undefeated and scoring victories over Levon Aronian (in round 1), Shakriyar Mamedyarov (in Round 3), and Veselin Topalov (in Round 9). This guaranteed his spot as challenger to Magnus Carlsen in the Sochi World Chess Championship match. By drawing against Sergey Karjakin in Round 13, he was able to secure the challenger spot with 1 round to spare.
2014 Dubai World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship: From 16 to 20 June, Anand participated in the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships. The Rapid Championship was 15 rounds, while the Blitz Championship was 21 rounds. Anand scored an undefeated 10.5 points out of 15 in the Rapid, earning him 3rd spot (behind winner Magnus Carlsen and runner-up Fabiano Caruana) and the Bronze medal. In the Blitz, Anand scored 13.5 points out of 21, which was good for tied 5th to 8th but placed 7th overall.
2014 Bilbao Masters — Grand Slam: From 14 to 20 September 2014, Anand participated in the 7th Bilbao Masters tournament. The tournament was a 4-player double-round-robin, played using the soccer-like scoring system (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss). The other three participants included Levon Aronian, Ruslan Ponomariov, and Francisco Vallejo Pons. Anand won the tournament by scoring 3 wins (2 against Vallejo Pons and 1 against Ponomariov) and 1 final loss (to Levon Aronian), giving him 11 points out of 18.
2014 Sochi World Chess Championship: From 7 to 28 November 2014, Anand participated in a rematch against Magnus Carlsen after having won the Khanty-Mansiysk Candidates Tournament. The match was a 12-game match, played in Sochi, Russia. Anand lost the match 6.5 - 4.5, having equalized the score in Round 3 after losing Round 2 but losing two more subsequent games in Rounds 6 and 11.
6th London Chess Classic: From 6 to 14 December, Anand participated in the 2014 London Chess Classic. The other 5 tournament participants included Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, and Michael Adams. Vishy finished the tournament with 7 points (+1-0=4), equal with Kramnik and Giri. However, Anand was declared the winner because the tiebreak rules stated that the player with the greater number of black wins has a better tiebreak. With Anand's last round win over Michael Adams, he secured tournament victory and his 3rd tournament win in 2014.
In 2015, Viswanathan Anand was a participant in the inaugural 2015 Grand Chess Tour, a series of 3 supertournaments featuring the world's elite players. The three tournaments that Anand participated in were Norway Chess, Sinquefield Cup, and London Chess Classic. Among these tournaments, Anand also participated in the Berlin World Rapid and Blitz Championships, GRENKE Chess, Zurich Chess Challenge, Bilbao Chess Masters Final, and Shamkir Chess.
GRENKE Chess Classic (Baden-Baden): Viswanathan Anand began the 2015 year by participating in the GRENKE Chess Classic. The tournament, held from 2–9 February 2015 in the city of Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, was an 8-player round robin consisting of 7 rounds. Anand scored 2.5 points out of 7 (+1-3=7), placing 7th out of 8.
4th Zurich Chess Challenge: From 13–19 February, Anand participated in the Zurich Chess Challenge 2015. A Blitz Tournament on the opening day was played to determine the colors distribution for the Classical Tournament. The classical tournament consisted of 5 games played with classical time control. The last day of the tournament consisted of 5 rapid games. The classical games were worth 2 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, while the Rapid and Blitz games were worth 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, thus placing greater importance on each classical result. The rules also stated that players who drew before their 40th move would have to play a rapid game (that would not count in the tournament standings). Anand scored 3.5 points out of 5 possible points in the opening Blitz tournament (+3-1=1). He won the Classical tournament, scoring 2 victories and 3 draws. He defeated Levon Aronian in Round 2 and Hikaru Nakamura in Round 4. In the final Rapid Tournament, Anand scored 2 points out of 5 (+1-2=2). However, because Anand and Nakamura were tied for the overall Zurich Chess Challenge in number of total points, they played a blitz Armageddon game, which Nakamura won, defeating Anand with the black pieces. Therefore, Anand came in second in the overall Zurich Chess Challenge.
Shamkir Chess (Gashimov Memorial 2015): From 16–25 April 2015, Anand participated in the 2nd Gashimov Memorial, in honor of the late Vugar Gashimov. It was a 9-round, 10-player single-round robin classical tournament, held in the town of Şəmkir (Shamkir District), Azerbaijan. Anand scored an overall +3 score, defeating Wesley So, Michael Adams, and Shakriyar Mamedyarov. He finished the tournament undefeated and in second place, behind winner Magnus Carlsen (whom he was better against in their individual encounter in Game 1).
Norway Chess 2015: Anand competed in Norway Chess 2015, the first leg of the Grand Chess Tour. This specific tournament was held in Stavanger, Norway, from 15–26 June 2015. The Blitz portion of the tournament was used to determine the colors and pairings of the main classical stage. In the Blitz tournament, Anand scored 5.5 points out of 9 (+4-2=3). In the Classical part of the tournament, the final standings through which the Grand Chess Tour points are awarded, Anand finished 2nd and undefeated (+3-0=6) and earned himself 10 Grand Chess Tour points, behind the winner of the tournament Veselin Topalov. He also reached an almost career-high rating of 2816 after the tournament and earned victories against Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Jon Ludvig Hammer, the latter of whom was the Wild-card of the tournament.
Sinquefield Cup 2015: Anand competed in the 3rd Sinquefield Cup, the second leg of the Grand Chess Tour. This specific tournament was held in the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in St. Louis, Missouri, from 22 August – 3 September 2015. Similar to Norway Chess, the tournament featured the 9 overall Grand Chess Tour participants and 1 wild-card in a 9-round single-round robin tournament. The wild card in this tournament was Wesley So, who had just recently switched federations from the Philippines to the United States. Anand started off the tournament with 2 losses, against Hikaru Nakamura and Alexander Grischuk and ended the tournament with 7 draws. This gave him an overall score of -2 (+0-2=7), or 3.5 points out of 9, earning him 2 Grand Chess Tour points.
World Rapid and Blitz Championships: From 10–14 October 2015, Anand participated in the World Rapid and Blitz Championships in Berlin, Germany. In the Rapid Championship, Anand scored 9.5 points out of 15 (+8-4=3). In the Blitz Championship, Anand scored 13 points out of 21 (+7-2=12).
2015 Bilbao Masters — Grand Slam: From 26 October – 1 November 2015, Anand participated in the 8th Grand Slam Masters Final in Bilbao, Spain. The format of the tournament was a 4-player double round robin featuring 6 round of classical chess, using the soccer-like scoring system (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss). Out of the 12 games played in the tournament, only 2 games were decisive. Anand finished the tournament on the bottom half (+0-1=5), losing a single game to Anish Giri.
7th London Chess Classic: Anand competed in the London Chess Classic, the third and final leg of the Grand Chess Tour. This specific tournament was held in the Olympia Conference Centre in London, England from 4–13 December 2015. Similar to Norway Chess and the Sinquefield Cup tournaments, the London Chess Classic featured the 9 overall Grand Chess Tour participants and 1 wild-card in a 9-round single-round robin tournament. The wild card in this tournament was Michael Adams. Anand scored 3.5 points out of 9 in the Classic, earning 1 victory against Veselin Topalov but losing to Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Grischuk, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. He finished the tournament in 9th place and earned 2 Grand Chess Tour points.
Overall, because of his performances in the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic, Anand finished 8th out of the main 9 Grand Chess Tour main participants - 14 Grand Chess tour points out of 39 maximum.
Viswanathan Anand was a participant in the 2nd Grand Chess Tour, a series of four supertournaments featuring the world's elite players: the Paris, France and Leuven, Belgium Rapid and Blitz tournaments (replacements for the Norway Chess tournament), 2016 Sinquefield Cup, and the 2016 London Chess Classic. The three best tournament results for each participant would be used to determine his final tour standings at the end of the year. Anand declined to participate in the Paris Rapid and Blitz tournament, meaning his results in Leuven, the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic would count toward the overall standings. Additionally Anand qualified for the 2016 World Chess Championship Candidates tournament by virtue of losing the 2014 World Chess Championship match.
Gibraltar Chess Open: In 2016, Anand played in the Gibraltar open, his first open in 23 years. Anand finished with 5 wins, 2 losses and 3 draws. The losses were against Réunion-born Adrien Demuth and Hungarian talent Benjámin Gledura. Anand's classical rating dropped 21.9 points.
5th Zurich Chess Challenge: From 12 to 15 February 2016, Anand played in the Zurich Chess Challenge 2016, which was broken up into a Rapid section and a blitz section. This rapid section of the tournament was a played with a modified time control of 40 minutes for the game with 10 additional seconds per move. The other 5 players of the tournament included Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik, Anish Giri, and Alexei Shirov. Anand scored victories over Aronian and Giri in the first two games of the Rapid tournament. He eventually tied for first with Nakamura with 10.5 points, after Nakamura won the final blitz game against Aronian; however Nakamura won the tournament on a Sonneborn-Berger tiebreaker.
2016 World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament: As part of the qualification cycle for the World Chess Championship 2016, Viswanathan Anand participated in the Candidates Tournament, held in Moscow, Russia from 10–30 March 2016 in the Central Telegraph (Центральный телеграф) Building. The lineup of the tournament included Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, both of whom qualified through winning the top two spots in the FIDE Grand Prix 2014–15. Sergey Karjakin and Peter Svidler qualified by becoming winner and runner-up (respectively) of the Chess World Cup 2015 Knockout tournament. Veselin Topalov and Anish Giri qualified by rating. Anand qualified by virtue of losing the 2014 World Chess Championship match against Magnus Carlsen. Finally Levon Aronian qualified as the organizers' Wild Card. Anand finished in shared second place with Fabiano Caruana, one point behind the tournament winner Sergey Karjakin. Anand had the unique distinction of the only player to have beaten the winner Karjakin in the 2016 Candidates Tournament.
Leon Chess Masters Rapid Tournament: Anand won the 29th Leon Masters Rapid Tournament by defeating Wei Yi and David Anton Guijarro.
Leuven Grand Chess Tour: From 17 to 20 June 2016, Anand participated in the Leuven leg of the 2016 Grand Chess Tour. The Rapid tournament was a Single Round Robin, consisting of 9 rounds of Rapid Games. Time control for the Rapid tournament was 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment starting from Move 1. The Blitz tournament was a Double Round Robin, consisting of 18 rounds of Blitz Games. Time control for the Blitz tournament was 5 minutes + 2 seconds increment starting from Move 1. Each Rapid game counted for 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss, while each Blitz game counted for 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw and 0 points for a loss. Anand amassed 19.5 points out of a maximum 27 points, earning him 4th place in the tournament (behind winner Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So, and Levon Aronian).
Viswanathan Anand participated in several high-level tournaments in 2017 including the World Rapid and Blitz championship, the Isle of Man Championship, the Norway chess tournament, the Zurich Chess Challenge, the Leon Chess Masters Rapid Tournament and the FIDE World Cup, to which he returned after fifteen years. He also played in the Grand Chess Tour a series of five events: the Paris, Leuven and St. Louis rapid and blitz tournaments, the 2017 Sinquefield Cup and the 2017 London Chess Classic, with Anand declining to participate in the Paris Rapid and Blitz tournament. Anand made more than $450 000 in prize money in 2017.
Zurich Chess Challenge 2017: Zurich Chess Challenge 2017 held from 12–17 April 2017, was divided into semi-classical (45 minutes per game+ 30 second per move) and blitz (10 minutes per game + 5 second per move) sections. The winner of a classical game was awarded 2 points for the overall standings, in case of a draw each player gets 1 point and the loser 0 points, while a win in a blitz game is awarded one point and a draw 0.5 points respectively. Anand finished third in the semi-classical section with a score of 4½/7 (+4-2=1) and second in the blitz section with a score of 4½/7 (+2-0=5), giving him a combined score of 13½/21 for a third-place finish.
Norway Chess Tournament 2017: The fifth Norway Chess tournament was held from 6–16 June 2017 in Stavanger, Norway. The tournament was a 10 player round robin involving all ten of the world's best players by rating (at the time of announcement) and had an average Elo rating of 2797. Anand finished in eighth place scoring 4/9 (+1-2=6).
Sinquefield Cup 2017: Anand competed in the Sinquefield Cup, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Centre of Saint Louis from August 2 to 11 2017. The event was the 3rd leg of the 2017 Grand Chess Tour, with nine tour regulars joined by wild card Peter Svidler, in a 9-round single-round robin tournament. Anand finished with a score of 5½/9 (+2-0=7) with victories over Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana. In the final standings he placed joint second with Magnus Carlsen, behind the winner Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Isle of Man Championship 2017: Anand participated in the 2017 Isle of Man Championship, a 9-round Swiss tournament, held from 23 September to 1 November. Anand finished joint-second with Hikaru Nakamura with a score of 7/9 (+5-0=4), behind the winner Magnus Carlsen.
Chess World Cup 2017: Anand played in the Chess World Cup 2017 a 128-player single-elimination chess tournament, held in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 2 to 27 September 2017. Anand was eliminated in the second round, losing to the Canadian Grandmaster Anton Kovalyov. Kovalyov won the first game with the black pieces after a dubious sacrifice from Anand and drew the second game with white to win the match. This was Anand's earliest exit in a knockout tournament at the World Championship/World Cup level.
King Salman FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championship: Anand won the World Rapid Championship held in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh from 26–28 December. The rapid tournament was a 15-round Swiss open, Anand finished 10.5/15 in a three-way tie with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Vladimir Fedoseev. Anand won the tie break over Vladimir Fedoseev 2-0. Anand finished third in the FIDE World Blitz Championship, a 21-round Swiss held from 29–30 December. Anand finished 14.5/21, behind Sergey Karjakin at 14.5/21 (ahead on tie-break) and Magnus Carlsen at 16/21.
80th Tata Steel Masters: Anand played in the 2018 Tata Steel Masters, a 14-player single round-robin held from 13–28 January 2018. Anand finished fifth with a score of 8/14 (+4-1=9).
5th Grenke Chess Classic:From 31 March to 9 April 2018, Anand participated in the 5th Grenke Chess Classic. He finished eighth with a score of 3½/9 (+0–2=7).
6th Norway Chess: From 28 May to 7 June, he competed in the sixth edition of Norway Chess, placing fourth with 4½/8 (+2–1=5).
In the April 2007 FIDE Elo rating list, Anand was ranked first in the world for the first time, and (as of July 2008[update]) he held the number one spot in all ratings lists but one since then until July 2008, the exception being the January 2008 list, where he was rated No. 2 behind Vladimir Kramnik (equal rating, but Kramnik held the No. 1 spot due to more games played). He dropped to No. 5 in the October 2008 list, the first time he had been outside the top 3 since July 1996.
In 2010, Anand announced that he would expand his tournament schedule, beginning in late 2010, in an effort to regain the world number one ranking from Magnus Carlsen. He achieved that goal on 1 November 2010 list with a rating of 2804, two points ahead of Magnus Carlsen, but was once again overtaken by Carlsen in July 2011.
In an interview in 2011, Kramnik said about Anand: "I always considered him to be a colossal talent, one of the greatest in the whole history of chess"; and "I think that in terms of play Anand is in no way weaker than Kasparov but he's simply a little lazy, relaxed and only focuses on matches. In the last 5–6 years he's made a qualitative leap that's made it possible to consider him one of the great chess players."
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov commented that Anand's victory in the 2014 Candidates Tournament "...proved that he is one of the strongest and greatest players of modern times."
In an interview in 2014 Alexander Grischuk said about Anand: "I have to say that of all the players I’ve played against Anand has personally struck me as the strongest, of course after Kasparov."
Notable tournament successes
1989 2nd Asian Active Chess Championship, Hong Kong 1st
1994 Melody Amber Tournament, Monaco 1st
1994 PCA Grand Prix (Rapid), Moscow 1st
1996 Credit Swiss Rapid Chess Grand Prix, Geneva 1st
1996 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon
1997 Melody Amber Tournament, Monaco 1st
1997 Chess Classic Rapid Tournament, Frankfurt
1998 Torneo Magitral Communidad De Madrid, Madrid 1st
1998 Siemens Nixdorf Duell (Rapid), Frankfurt 1st
1999 Wydra Memorial Chess (Rapid), Haifa 1st
1999 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon beat Karpov 5–1
2000 Wydra International Tournament (Rapid), Haifa 1st
2000 Torneo Magistral de Ajedrez, Leon beat Shirov 1½–½
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 Millennium Award in 1998, from India's premier sports magazine for being the sportsperson of the millennium.
"Global Strategist Award" for mastering many formats of World Chess Championships by NASSCOM in 2011.
Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa honoured Anand with a cheque of Rs 2 crores, 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.
In 2014 Anand was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship for the development of economic, scientific and cultural ties with Russia. The Order of Friendship was awarded to Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand, the participants in the FIDE World Chess Championship Match that was held at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in 2012.
In 2015 Anand was honoured with the top country award at the Spanish embassy, Delhi on 8 January. It is given to the eminent people of Indian origin who helped to bring glory to both India and Spain.
^I'm Anand. My father is Vishwanathan. At some point people assumed that this must be my first name and Anand must be my last name. It's common in the West. Vishwanathan was unpronounceable for them. Became Vishy. But my father is Vishwanathan Krishnamurthy. I am Anand Vishwanathan. Of course, my wife is Aruna Anand. So among the mysteries we have to explain to many people is, though we are married, why we don’t share the same family name.