Viswanathan Anand was born on 11th December 1969 at Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. His father, Viswanathan Iyer, retired as a General Manager of Southern Railways. His mother, Susheela Iyer, is an influential social worker. Within a few years of his birth, the family moved to Chennai. He grew up in Chennai. He studied at Don Bosco School in Egmore, Chennai. He attended the Loyola College there and graduated in Commerce.
His brother, Shiva Kumar, is the Manager of Crompton Greaves India. His sister, Anuradha, is a professor at the University of Michigan in the United States of America. He is married to Aruna Anand and they are both settled in Collade Mediano in Spain.
Viswanathan Anand developed an interest in the game of chess from a very early age. His mother taught him how to play the game. At the age of fifteen, he became the youngest Indian to be honoured with the title of Indian Grandmaster of Chess.
Viswanathan Anand is the greatest chess player that India has ever produced. His outstanding caliber in the game of chess has made the country proud of him. He started achieving international fame from his sixteenth year when he won the Arab Asian International Chess Championship. In 1988, he won the Fifty First Hoogovens Chess Tournament at Wijk aan Zee in Holland. In 1989, he won the Second Asian Active Chess Championship in Hong Kong. In 1990, he won the Manchester Chess Festival. In the World Chess Championship in 1991, he came up to the quarter finals. In 1994, he won the Professional Chess Association’s (PCA) Grand Prix at Moscow (Moskva). In 1997, he won the Chess Classic Rapid Tournament at Frankfurt. In the same year, he won the Knock-Out Championship at Groningen in Holland.
His list of wins grows thick after the turn of the century when his career really took off and he managed to hold the Federation Internationale des Eschecs (FIDE) or World Chess Federation’s title for three straight years from 2000 to 2002. In 2008, he defeated Vladimir Kramnik in the World Chess Championship match.
There are three formats in chess competitions on an international level. They are the Tournament, the Knock-Out and the Grandmaster World Championship match. Viswanathan Anand is the only player in the history of the game to win the World Championship of Chess in all the three formats. He went on to successfully defend his World Championship title against Veselin Topalov in 2010.
Viswanathan Anand is one of the greatest sports personalities of India. He has been honoured with the highest sports award in the country which is the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1992. He has also been awarded the Padma Vibhushan which is the second highest civilian award in the country in 2007. These awards were an acknowledgment of his valuable contribution in sports and in making the country proud with his success in international chess.
Viswanathan Anand brings a combination of calm demeanour and attacking brilliance to the game of chess.