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Breakfast at Anands! - The start of a new tradition?

by Sagar Shah - 11/01/2024

How difficult is it to get together 15 GMs and 21 titled players in one house on a Sunday morning for breakfast? Sounds impossible, doesn't it? What if we said it was not only possible, but 3 out of these players are top 25 in the world! This can happen only in one city in the world and that place in Chennai. The wonderful breakfast was hosted by Vishy and Aruna Anand and we bring you all the pictures from the this beautiful gathering. It not only had strong players, but also their family members who joined in. IM Sagar Shah shares the pictures from the day and also writes about his experience of visiting Gukesh's home later in the evening.

On 7th of January, some of the biggest names of Indian chess came together at the residence of Vishy and Aruna Anand in Chennai. Praggnanandhaa was supposed to receive an award from CNN-News 18, while Gukesh was supposed to interact with a documentary creator. As all of these required Vishy Anand's presence as well, Aruna decided to invite these youngsters, their family and many other members of the chess community from Chennai for a breakfast at their place. The event was so much fun, that it is quite possible that the first weekend of every new year would witness the "Breakfast at Anands" as a tradition!

A very special morning for Indian chess at the residence of Vishy and Aruna Anand in Chennai

Pictures of the day

Pragg with the Managing Editor of CNN News 18 Jacob Zakka

Shivani Gupta speaks with Pragg asking him a few questions on how the year 2023 has been

Praggnanandhaa recieves the CNN News 18 Indian of the year award of rising sports star

What a wonderful frame - Vishy Anand with Vaishali, Pragg and Nagalakshmi

Pragg's first photo with Adani logo on his t-shirt

A proud father - Vishy Anand shows the beautiful paintings of his son Akhil to the guests

Pragg, Vaishali and Nagalakshmi understand the mathematical aspects of Akhil's paintings

The master artist - Akhil meets the guests at home!

All the guests were served traditional south Indian breakfast on banana leaf

Wada, Uttapam, Idli, chutney, sambhar, badam halwa were some of the dishes that were served

And how can any breakfast be complete without the filter coffee! :)

GM R.B. Ramesh was interviewed by CNN News 18 for his recent Dronacharya award and also for training Pragg and Vaishali

Saravanan discussing the book Anand's best games with the man himself!

The living room was filled with so much talent! 

These two individuals are so different yet have achieved so much. Srikanth Govindaseshan (left) is known for his deep thinking and calm attitude towards life. He has been a coach of GM Sundararajan Kidambi and GM Vishnu Prasanna and now mentors many upcoming talents. WIM Raghavi (left) is a bundle of energy. She is not just a strong player and runs a big chess academy, but is also a doctor with a Ph.D. in Laryngology

Two doctors! Raghavi with Rajinikanth!

GM Deepan Chakkravarthy and GM Magesh Chandran with Anuprita Patil in the background! Did you know: 1. Magesh and Anuprita run one of the biggest chess academies in the US called Kings and Queens Chess Academy. 2. Deepan Chakkravarthy is getting interested in film direction and is taking his initial steps. The hope is that he makes a wonderful chess movie in the days to come!

The news spread in the gathering that Kidambi writes excellent poems. So we gave him a topic - "Anand and Aruna". As you can see, he is in deep thought!

After just a few minutes Kidambi was ready with his poem! Young Bharath Subramaniyam seems very keen to learn this art!

Anand and Aruna sat down to listen to what Kidambi had written for them. By the way don't miss Aruna's chess saree.

The grandmaster read out the poem...

...and the entire room went up in applause! Vishy felicitated Kidambi's beautiful lines with a shawl!

This is what Kidambi had written!

What a wonderful memory! The photo has 15 GMs (Kidambi, Ramesh, Adhiban, Shyam Sundar, Sethuraman, Karthikeyan Murali, Praggnanandhaa, Aditya Mittal, Pranav V., Vaishali, Bharath Subramaniyam, Vishy Anand, Deepan Chakkravarthy, Magesh Chandran and Gukesh), 4 IMs (Konguvel, Sagar Shah, Ilamparthi, Saravanan), 1 WGM (Aarthie Ramaswamy) and 1 WIM (N.Raghavi), making it a total of 21 titled players!

Later in the day, the Group e4 meetup was held. We will be writing about it in another article!

A visit to Gukesh's home!

After we finished our breakfast at the Anand and Aruna's place, we went to the Group e4 meetup. After it was completed and before catching the flight back to Mumbai, I decided to meet Gukesh and his parents at his home.

From left to right: Sagar, Gukesh, Padma Kumari, Lyndon Mendonca, Rajinikanth and Ashwin Subramanian

With Gukesh's grand parents!

Gukesh's mom made some very tasty Kuli Paniyaram with spicy chutney

Ashwin brought some very nice books for Gukesh

Gukesh is a voracious reader. He feels reading good books helps him to become a better player

Visiting the tennis court near Gukesh's home, where the youngster goes almost every day to practice and maintain his physical fitness

We also got to meet Gukesh's trainer - GM Vishnu Prasanna
Gukesh's room tour! A look into the simple life of Gukesh

Gukesh is one of the top players in the world of chess! He is going to be playing at the Candidates tournament in a few months from now. Just 17 years of age, it is very interesting to see how this youngster lives his life. You get a glimpse of his room in the above video. We think he lives like a chess monk - practices chess, reads books, focusses on fitness and has a bed to take rest. Simple living, high thinking! Let us know if you too think the same! :)


A visit to Gukesh's home was the perfect way for me to end my trip to Chennai. Rajinikanth dropped me to the airport and I took the flight back home to Mumbai. Trips to Chennai have become one of my most favourite things to do recently. There are so many passionate chess players in the city that invariably my trip turns into a enriching experience. I hope to come back to the city very soon - until then Thank you so much Anand, Aruna, Satya Prabhakar and Gukesh for your warm hospitality and treating me to some sumptumous south Indian food.

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