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Vishy's December #04 - India having 65 GMs is unthinkable without Anand

by Surya Sekhar Ganguly - 05/12/2019

He met Anand at the airport when he was just a nine-year-old boy! He played a simul with him and grew up with Vishy as his role model. Today Surya Sekhar Ganguly is one India's strongest GMs. He has not only won innumerable accolades for the country as a chess player, but has helped Anand to become a World Champion for a record three times as his second. In this article Surya relives some of his most precious moments with the Indian legend. This December, ChessBase India is celebrating the month as Vishy's December in honour of the Indian chess legend Vishy Anand turning 50 years old. If you have a story, experience or an anecdote related to Anand which you would like to share with the chess world, you can send it to us at  

Love and passion for chess drive Anand

by Surya Ganguly


I first met Anand in 1992. It was very special. I remember many students from Alekhine chess club went to Kolkata airport to receive him and a special permission was done so that all the children could reach until the point where aircraft was parked! We all stood as V shape as Anand disembarked from his flight. About 100 kids or so. Anand had just won Reggio Emilia ahead of Karpov and Kasparov and was coming to play in the Goodricke open. So we all met him at the airport. Then I got a chance play in a simul against him. Also back then there was manual demonstration board and I was usually doing it on Anand's board. I have some nice cute pictures from our first meeting. It will always be very special for me.

A nine-year-old Surya receives Vishy Anand in Kolkata

The first simul! It was a Spanish!

There are many qualities of Anand that have inspired me on my chess journey. The obvious ones are of course his intelligence level, the baffling speed of his thinking and utmost clarity in his thoughts. However when I started working with him (as a second) I realised how hard he works and what kind of self imposed discipline he maintains. Also he is very down to earth and has got very fine sense of humor.

Ganguly has been Anand's second for three World Championship Matches that he won in 2008, 2010 and 2012. This working relationship has developed into friendship over the years!

Ganguly married Sudeshna on 7th of February 2011. Vishy Anand attended the ceremony in Kolkata.

Vishy will soon turn 50! I think the primary reason why he has been able to maintain himself at the top is because the love and passion for the game drives him. He enjoys playing chess and working on chess. As long as he enjoys doing that, I think he will continue and continue to do well! :)

Going on a trek with Vishy!

What has been Anand's contribution to Indian chess? I would say 'Everything'! Without him it is unthinkable we would have had 65 grandmasters in the country. He is the benchmark of Indian chess. He did it when no one was there. When no one could have ever imagined an Indian chess player can go that far. I wish him lots of happiness, good health and a life full of joy and chess! I also wish he continues to show us some amazing games in the years to come. 

After all of this years of being with Anand, it was surprising that in 2018 was the first time that Ganguly sat opposite Anand for a game at the Tata Steel Chess India 2018!

It's a very tough question to choose Anand's best game! There are just too many. I would say my favorite would be his game against Levon from Wijk Aan Zee 2013.

About the author:

Surya Shekhar Ganguly holds the distinction of becoming the national champion for a record six times. He is also the former Asian Champion. He worked in the team of seconds that assisted Anand in winning the World Championship matches against Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov and Gelfand in 2008, 2010 and 2012 respectively. He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2005 for his outstanding achievement in sports. He also got the "Shera Bangali" award in 2009 as the best Sportsperson of Bengal and the "Khel Samman" award in 2013 from the Government of West Bengal. He was awarded ″Bangabhusan″, the second-highest civilian award of West Bengal, in 2015.

Previous articles in Vishy's December

#01: Anand Viswanathanovich by Ravi Abhyankar

#02: Inspiration, teammate, second by Sandipan Chanda

#03: In India, Chess = Anand by S.P. Sethuraman

Want to share an Anand story this December?

This entire December, ChessBase India is celebrating Vishy Anand's 50th birthday. We would like you to contribute any interesting story that you might have with Anand so that we can publish it on our newspage. In case you would like to share, you can do so from this google form link. Alternatively you can also send it to us via

The best article, anecdote, or story submitted and published on our newspage will get this ChessBase 15 copy signed by Vishy Anand!

Make sure you get your hands on Vishy Anand's book Mind Master (written by the man himself), which will be launched on 13th of December 2019.

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