Player’s Profile of Visvanathan Anand

Today’s player’s profil is about no other than Visvanathan Anand. The 43 year-old Indian has been the 15th accepted Individual Chess Champion since 2007, after obtaining the title before from 2000 to 2002. ‘Vishy’ will be trying to defend his title against the Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, who is currently the number one in the FIDE world rankings.

Anand’s passion for chess originated on the Philippines

Visvanathan Anand learned playing chess at six years from his mother and joined a chess club shortly afterwards. He discovered his passion for chess for good in 1978 when the 8 year-old stayed with his father, who lived and worked on the Philippines. That is where the big battle of Anatoli Kasparov and Viktor Kortschnoi took place. Anand was fascinated and back in India the ‘Tiger of Madras’ waked the enthusiasm in the boy, which led him all the way to winning the U16 and U19 Youth Championships in 1983, followed by a 4th place at the Indian Adults Chess Championship. The 14 year-old teenager participated in the Chess Olympics as a member of the Indian national team and triumphed at the Asian Youth Championship in 1984 and 85.

Still youngest National Champion of India

In 1985, Visvanathan Anand already earned the FIDE title ‘International Master’; no other Asian obtained this title at such young age. One year later, ‘Vishy’ became the youngest National Champion of India – and has been the youngest ever since. He obtained the national championship of his home country two more times, won the U20 Junior World Championship in 1987 and ascended to the grandmaster status in December of the same year. After the defeat at world championship qualification’s quarter-finals by Anatoli Kasparov (3.5 : 4.5), he also made it to semi-finals in 1994 to compete against Gata Kamsky, though lost 6.5 : 4.5. In a return match in 1995, Visvanathan Anand then defeated Kamsky (6.5 : 4.5) and became the opponent of Garry Kasparov. After eighteen duels in the World Trade Center in New York, the Russian came off winner at 10.5 : 7.5 points. Finally, in 2000, Anand scored a major success when obtaining the tournament victory in knock-out system in New Delhi by winning against Alexei Schirov (3.5 : 0.5).

‘Vishy’’ since 2007 continuously World Champion

At the 2001 World Championship in Moscow, Anand was defeated by Vassyl Ivantschuk at a score of 1.5 : 2.5. Though the Indian claimed many tournament victories afterwards, he had to wait for the next World Championship until 2007 – therefore, he has been the FIDE World Champion since that very year and defended his title at the tournament in Mexico in 2007. With 9.0 points out of 14 rounds he became the 15th official World Champion. This battle was followed by the title defence in 2008 in Bonn, Germany, which Anand confidently managed against Vesselin Topalov (5.5 : 6.5) Most recently, Visvanathan Anand defeated Boris Gelfand at 2.5 : 1.5 at the rapid-chess tiebreak, after the score was even at 6:6 in the regular matches.

 written by Michael, translated by Birthe