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Legend Vishy Anand turns 50!

by Sagar Shah - 11/12/2019

What a day it is for Indian chess! The Indian legend Vishy Anand turns 50! From being the first Indian GM to five-time World Champion, Anand has changed the landscape of the sport in the country. In this article IM Sagar Shah narrates to you an incident which shows what a gem of an individual Vishy Anand is. Along with it we have the Wish Vishy for his 50th birthday challenge where the best and the most creative wish will get a autographed ChessBase 15 from Vishy Anand! We have well over 500 wishes already! To celebrate Vishy's big day, ChessBase India has also launched a Vishy Anand limited edition t-shirt! You can order the t-shirt from this article with the special design made by our team of experts. Lastly, we bring you all the wishes sent to Vishy by the well-known personalities in the chess world and beyond. A huge Golden Jubilee article!

Vishy Anand surrounded by a sea of fans at the Tata Steel Chess India in November 2019 | Photo: Lennart Ootes

The Tata Steel Chess India 2019 had come to an end. After the closing ceremony, Vishy Anand sat down to give autographs to his fans. The excitement was unmatched. The number of fans were huge. The crowd had to be controlled. Body guards were doing their job to ensure that people would not push themselves on to Vishy. Aruna looked slightly tensed. Anand gave over 100 autographs. There were still quite a few people left, but it was just impossible to satisfy all of them. After 10 minutes, the bodyguards took their positions around Anand and Aruna, formed a circle and started to move towards the car. For the fans, it was an opportunity of lifetime going away. 'Maybe next year', they consoled themselves.


Just as Anand was about to enter the Mercedes waiting for him, an elderly man came running towards him with a book and pen in his hand. The man was around 70 years old and spoke in a hurried manner. From what he said I could gather that he had waited since morning and was a big Vishy fan. The bodyguards asked him to move aside, but Anand asked the bodyguards to let him come closer. Vishy realized it was not a matter of giving just one autograph. Once he gave one, he would have to give to many others who were waiting there. But that thought didn't worry Anand. He knew that that one autograph was the difference between the 70-year-old man having a successful trip to Kolkata and him going home dejected. His one sign was enough to make the man feel good about himself at least for a next few days! Anand knows his power, but more importantly he knows where and how he should be using it.


Fame and success have the power to blind one's empathy. You stop thinking about others because you feel they are not important. Then there are other stars who are not arrogant or immodest, but just try to take care of themselves. But in doing so they have to hurt the feelings of their fans. In the past few years that I have seen Vishy Anand, I have often come to the conclusion that this genial superstar of Indian chess falls into the rare third category, where he is ready to invest his time and energy to take care of the emotions of the people around him. Vishy doesn't need to do it. Yet, he does it again and again. Why does he do it? I asked him this question earlier this year in Pune, to which Anand replied, "I try to be conscious, I try to be aware that I am lucky that these people want to come near me. I think you shouldn't complain too much unless it becomes very hard to deal with. You cannot ask people to pay attention to you and when they do, suddenly change your mind! I represent chess and I feel I should be nice to fans because (pauses) in the end, that's how it works! [smiles] 


Here's an example of something similar happening to what was described in the paragraph above - this video was not shot in Kolkata, it was in Pune, but what happened was almost the same.

Of course his chess is amazing! His moves are powerful, but it's because of his gestures away from the board that Vishy has managed to capture the love and attention of the entire nation for over three decades now! Today, on 11th of December 2019, Vishy Anand turns 50 and we at ChessBase India on behalf of the entire chess community want to thank him for his wonderful contribution to the sport and also for being an excellent role model for the young generation of the country.

Get to know Anand better! Exclusive interview with ChessBase India

Vishy Anand for Bharat Ratna

Six-year-old Vishy Anand!

1. At the age of 18 Vishy became the first GM of Indian chess. His becoming a GM made Indian players dream bigger and today we have 65 GMs!

2. Anand is five times World Champion and two time World Rapid Champion in 2003 and 2017. He also won the Plus GSM World Blitz Cup in 2000. In Classical chess Anand's World Championship titles came in 2000 in Tehran, 2007 in Mexico, 2008 in Bonn, 2010 in Sofia and 2012 in Moscow. The last three titles were by beating Kramnik, Topalov and Gelfand in a match!

3. He is the only player in the history of chess who has won the World Championship title in all formats - knockout, Round Robin and Match.

4. Anand became the 4th player in history of chess to cross 2800 in 2006 and held the world no.1 position for 21 months!

5. Anand is the first sportsperson in the history of India to receive the Padma Vibhushan award, the second highest civilian award in the country.

6. Other awards conferred to him by the Government of India include Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, the highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.

7. He has won the chess Oscar, a record six times!

8. Vishy Anand has a minor planet named after him called 4538 Vishyanand.

9. At the age of 50 he is still competing with the best in the world. In fact in 2019, he was ranked 6th on the FIDE rating list.

10. Last but not the least, this quality of Anand cannot be quantified in a number or award, but perhaps is the most important. In spite of all the achievements, he is humble, down to earth with a balanced personality. He is an ideal role model.

We feel that Vishy Anand has done enough for India to deserve the Bharat Ratna award. What do you think?

Vishy Anand receiving the Padma Vibhushan in 2008 at the hands of President Pratibha Patil. Padma Vibhushan is the second highest civilian award in the country. The highest one being Bharat Ratna. We feel that Vishy has done enough for the country for him to be conferred the Bharat Ratna.

Vishy Anand Limited edition 50th anniversary T-Shirt

To celebrate the 50th birthday of Vishy Anand, ChessBase India is launching the Vishy Anand limited edition T-Shirt. This is how it looks:

The front side has the photo of Vishy Anand, who is famously known as "The Madras Tiger". The backside (on the right) has king with the Indian flag which represents "Proud to be an Indian chess player"!

The cost of the T-shirt is just Rs.600 and it involves free home delivery. It goes without saying that the highest quality of fabric is used to make these t-shirts. If you are a chess lover and a Vishy Anand fan, this is something that you must have!

1. Pre-shrunk

2. Soft cotton

3. Slim fit

4. Colour: Light Grey

Our aim is to provide you with apparel that will make you feel comfortable while playing your games. These t-shirts are specially designed for chess professionals and the comfort of the players have been kept in mind while manufacturing the same.

The T-shirt will be delivered to your address by 31st of December.

Wish Vishy on his 50th birthday contest

All the wishes sent to Vishy Anand on 11th of December will be eligible for the "Wish Vishy on his 50th birthday" contest. The best and the most creative comment will receive ChessBase 15 signed by Vishy Anand.

ChessBase's premium software with Vishy Anand's autograph

How to send your wishes? Well, you have several options:

1. You can comment in the section provided below this article for the comments.

2. You can comment on the Facebook post of ChessBase India which already has 143 wishes!

3. You can comment on the YouTube post in the Community section which has 267 wishes! 

4. You can comment on the Instagram Post which has 132 wishes

5. Twitter is also an option where Vishy Anand himself is quite active

Please note that we will go through each of the wishes carefully and select the winner. Because of the overwhelming response we may even increase prizes to be given out.

How is Vishy celebrating his birthday?

The tasty cake made by Aruna for Vishy who loves cake!


Here are some of the wishes by prominent personalities in India and the world:

Vladimir Kramnik sends his best wishes to Vishy Anand













A wonderful video by Grenke Chess:

Hans Walter Schmitt and Grenke Chess have produced this video. The most interesting part are the wishes at the end of it. They are by some of the biggest names in the chess world including Kasparov, Kramnik, Carlsen, Judit Polgar and many more. The most interesting wish is definitely by Kasparov who says, "Dear Vishy, Greetings from New York! You are braver than me! Continuing to battle the youngsters instead of teaching them. Good luck my friend and happy birthday!"

Check out this wonderful video by Grenke Chess 2019


If you haven't grabbed your copy of Vishy's Mind Master, do so now from Amazon. It is a book written by Anand himself and gives you great insights into the life of the champion.

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