Vishy's December #13: My Great Predecessor
Vishy Anand has been credited in a big way for the current chess boom that is taking place in the country. Anand's exploits over the chess board have inspired the entire nation. And it is one of the primary reasons why we see such a huge crop of talents developing in the country. While we have read this in several news reports in different periodicals and websites, it feels nice when we get to read about Anand's contribution to the world of chess by one of India's biggest talents. Aditya Mittal is just 13 years old and is already an International Master. In this #13 edition of Vishy's December, Aditya analyzes five of Anand's best games and also recounts his meet with the Indian legend seven years ago! Aditya was just six years old back then.
The man who has gone 50 years and beyond
By Aditya Mittal
"If you asked me who would NOT win then I'd be glad to give you a clear reply: Anand. Let's agree on the following: if Anand wins the tournament I'll publicly admit I understand nothing about life or chess, and you'll never ask me to take part in such a survey again." - Russian Chess Journalist Evgeny Surov, before Candidates 2014.
"I have to admit I understand nothing about chess or life." - Evgeny Surov, after Vishy won the Candidates 2014.
Viswanathan Anand is undoubtedly one of the greatest chess players the world has ever seen. He became the first grandmaster from India in 1988, shortly after winning the World Junior Championship in 1987. He held the FIDE World Championship title from 2000 to 2002, becoming the first Asian to do so, and became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and kept it till 2013, winning matches against Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov, and Boris Gelfand. He won the World Rapid Championship in 2003, and then after 14 (!) years, he won it again in 2017. He is one of the few players in the world to break 2800 rating, and he occupied the World no.1 spot for 21 months.
Yet he has critics, and a number of them. Those who wish he retires, who think he's well past his prime, who think he has no reason to continue playing chess. Why? Because of his age.
But here's where Vishy is a big source of inspiration; he does have a reason to continue playing chess. "I like playing chess and that's it." - Anand
He likes playing and that's it! There's no one who can stop him, not as long as he has the drive, the inner passion, the hunger for more. Anand turned 50 years old a few days ago, but he still continues playing chess at the very top, against the best players in the world, while more than holding his own!
Vishy has played many brilliant games throughout his legendary career. In this blog, I have analyzed and annotated my top 5 favourite games of Vishy... though I must say that ranking them is nearly impossible, such is the strength of the man, and people can have totally contrasting opinions of such a list!
Top 5 games of Vishy Anand
#5 Topalov vs Anand, World Championship, 2010
#4 Anand vs Bologan, Dortmund, 2003
#3 Ivanchuk vs Anand, Linares, 1992
#2 Aronian vs Anand, Wijk Aan Zee, 2013
#1 Anand vs Lautier, Biel 1997
In India, chess is synonymous with Vishy Anand. I was fortunate enough to meet the legend at the very start of my chess career - when I was only six-years-old - in a simultaneous exhibition at NIIT Neemrana (Rajasthan). I was thrilled; it was the opportunity of my life. I savored every moment of him coming over to my board to make a move.
The next time I met him, at the start of this year. I was playing the IIFL Wealth Masters Grandmaster Open in Mumbai, where he was present for the closing ceremony. I made my first IM norm; to get the certificate from Anand's hands was as amazing as it could get.
To conclude, I'd say Vishy is a complete universal player, capable of playing any sort of position with delightful precision. The way he still controls his position at the top at this age is something extraordinary, and quite unbelievable. I could go on and on, but for now, I'll just say, Happy 50th Birthday, Vishy sir!
And on this occasion, from the entire chess world, here's to Vishy Anand, the man who has gone 50 years & beyond!
About the author
It wouldn't be wrong to call Aditya Mittal the bravest talent of the country. In 2017, the youngster encountered an accident which made him dependent on a wheel chair. But absolutely nothing came in between Aditya and his will to succeed. The youngster powered on, worked hard on chess, and in 2018 became one of the youngest IMs of the country at the age of 12. You can read more about Aditya's inspirational journey here.
Previous articles in Vishy's December
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