Viswanathan Anand, (Tamil: விசுவநாதன்ஆனந்த்) (born 11 December 1969) is an Indian chess grandmaster and the current World Chess Champion.
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. He will next defend his title in the World Chess championship 2010 against Veselin Topalov.
Anand is one of five players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE rating list. He was at the top of the world rankings five out of six times, from April 2007 to July 2008. In October 2008, he dropped out of the world top three ranking for the first time since July 1996.
In 2007 he 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.
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. He became the youngest Indian to win the International Master Title at the age of fifteen, in 1984. At the age of sixteen he became the national chess champion and 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 Champion. In 1988, at the age of eighteen, he became India's first Grandmaster by winning Shakti Finance International chess tournament.
"Vishy", as he is sometimes called by his friends, burst upon the upper echelons of the chess scene in the early 1990s, winning such tournaments as Reggio Emilia 1991 (ahead of Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov).
In 1994–95 Anand and Gata Kamsky dominated the qualifying cycles for the rival FIDE and PCA world championships. In the FIDE cycle, Anand lost his quarter-final match to Kamsky after leading early. Kamsky went on to lose the championship match against Karpov.
In the 1995 PCA cycle, Anand avenged his FIDE loss by defeating Gata Kamsky in the Candidates final. In 1995, he played the PCA World Chess Championship 1995 against Kasparov in New York City’s World Trade Center. After an opening run of eight draws (a record for the opening of a world championship match), Anand won game nine with a powerful exchange sacrifice, but then lost four of the next five. He lost the match 10.5–7.5.
FIDE World Chess Champion 2000
After several near misses, Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 for the first time after defeating Alexei Shirov 3.5–0.5 in the final match held at Tehran, thereby becoming the first Indian to win that title. He lost the title when Ruslan Ponomariov won the FIDE knockout tournament in 2002.
He tied for second with Peter Svidler in the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005 with 8.5 points out of 14 games, 1.5 points behind the winner, Veselin Topalov.
World Chess Champion 2007
In September 2007 Anand became World Champion again by winning that year's FIDE World championship Tournament held in Mexico City. He won the double round-robin 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 match play, since Mikhail Botvinnik in 1948.
World Chess Champion 2008
Anand successfully defended the title against Kramnik in the World Chess Championship 2008 held between October 14 and October 29 in Bonn, Germany. The winner was to be the first to score 6.5 points in the twelve-game match. Anand won by scoring 6.5 points in 11 games. 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.
World Chess Champion 2010
Prior to the World Chess Championship 2010, Anand, who had booked on the flight Frankfurt-Sofia on April 16, 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 April 19. Anand eventually reached Sofia on April 20, after an exhausting 40-hour road journey. Consequently, the first game was delayed by one day.
The match consisted of 12 games. 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 match and retain the World Championship. In game 12, after Topalov's dubious 31st and 32nd moves, Anand was able to achieve a strong attack against Topalov's relatively exposed king. Topalov subsequently resigned.
World Chess Championship 2012
As a result of Anand's victory in the World Chess Championship 2010, he will defend his title in the World Chess Championship 2012, tentatively scheduled to be held in London, England. His opponent will be determined by the winner of the Candidates Matches to be played in 2011.
FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion 2003
In October 2003, the governing body of chess, FIDE, organized a rapid time control tournament 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 8.5/11, two more than the runners-up, for a performance 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 - Svidler at the MTel Masters 2006.
Anand won three consecutive Advanced Chess tournaments in Leon, Spain, after Garry Kasparov introduced this form of chess in 1998, and is widely recognized as the world's best Advanced Chess player, where humans may consult a computer to aid in their calculation of variations.
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.
His game collection, My Best Games of Chess, was published in the year 1998 and was updated in 2001.
Anand's recent 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 only player to have won five titles of the Corus chess tournament. 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 (1998, 2003, 2004, 2006), Linares (1998, 2007, 2008), 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 making Anand number one in the April 2007 list.
Anand won the Mainz 2008 Supertournament Championship by defeating upcoming star Magnus Carlsen, earning his eleventh title in that event.
In the April 2007 FIDE Elo rating list, Anand was ranked first in the world for the first time, and (as of July 2008) 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 #2 behind Vladimir Kramnik (equal rating, but Kramnik held the #1 spot due to more games played). He dropped to #5 in the October 2008 list, the first time he had been outside the top 3 since July 1996.