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Indian grandmasters share Vishy Anand gems on his 49th birthday

by Sagar Shah - 12/12/2018

Everyone knows what a great player Vishy Anand is. Five-time World Champion, World Champion in all formats (knockout, round robin and match), India no.1 for over three decades, Madras Tiger, Lightning kid are some of the terms that we always append to Vishy Anand's name when we speak about him. But, the one thing that a chess player would definitely love to be remembered for are his games! And Vishy Anand has plenty of amazing games. On 11th of December 2018, Anand's 49th birthday we asked several GMs in Indian chess about their absolutely favourite Vishy Anand game. Through this article we hope that you are able to relive some of Anand's absolute gems and understand what a genius he is!  

The Indian chess legend Vishy Anand turns 49 years old

Vishy Anand at his home in Kotturpuram, Chennai | Photo: Amruta Mokal

On 11th of December 2018, Vishy Anand turned 49 years old. A lot of articles have been written about Vishy's achievements and tournament victories. Rather than repeating it again, we thought that it would be a good time to show our readers the exact reason why Vishy Anand is hailed as a living legend - the chess games he has played! His most amazing games! And so, we wrote a mail to several Indian grandmasters and asked them to send us their favourite Vishy Anand game. Some of them were playing in tournaments, some of them were busy with different engagements, but they all took out time and replied sending us their best Vishy Anand game and why they liked it.


When I sent the mail, I thought that many players would send me the same game. For eg. Aronian vs Anand, Wijk Aan Zee, 2013 is definitely a game that you would remember as being one of Anand's best. But as mails started pouring in my inbox I began to realize how many gems Anand has played in his chess career! Yes, Anand vs Aronian was a favourite of many, but there were so many other encounters enumerated as you will find below. I am sure when the article ends, you will have your chest swelling out with pride that we are born in the same era as Vishy Anand and can still enjoy him watching playing chess at the highest level.

Srinath Narayanan:

GM Srinath Naryanan, 46th GM of India

Vishy Anand vs Gata Kamsky, Las Palmas Candidates, Game 9 

Kamsky has just recaptured back the pawn on b5. It is Anand's move as White. What will you play?

Srinath: "There are just too many games of Anand that I like, but if I had to choose one specifically, I would maybe start with Anand-Kamsky, game 9, Las Palmas Candidates 1995. The move 26.Nd1!! (in the above position) moving backward with the knight made a deep impression on me when I initially viewed it as a teenager."


Here's the game with annotations by Vishy Anand himself from ChessBase Magazine (CBM) 46:

We now move to a game which is the favourite of four grandmasters of India - Shyam Sundar, Nihal Sarin, B. Adhiban and Arun Prasad. It doesn't come as a surprise that this game is Aronian versus Anand from Wijk Aan Zee, 2013. Let's have a look at some of the critical moments in the game so that you can put your brain to work, before reading the comments of the GMs.

Aronian vs Anand, Tata Steel 2013

White has just moved his knight to g5. What should Black play?

The pawn has recaptured back on d4. What would you do if you were in Vishy's shoes?

This is the move in the game that Anand was really proud of. Can you find it?

Aronian has taken the rook on f8. How did Vishy continue?

How did Anand finish off the game?

Once you have thought about the five positions above, let's have a look at what the GMs have to say!

Shyam Sundar:

GM Shyam Sundar, 31st GM of India | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Shyam Sundar: "There are so many games,but the one that comes instantly to mind is his win against Aronian with Black pieces at Tata Steel in 2013. Not only his fantastic piece of preparation, but also I was inspired by the way how he handled the dynamics of the position, sacrificing one piece after another and in between playing a calm move like f5, keeping all the threats alive. Not only being such a down to earth person, he also continues to inspire us by staying motivated and showing lots of energy on the board even now. He keeps proving us that age is just a number! I hope he ends the year on high by winning World Rapid and blitz and keeps winning many top level tournaments as well in the coming years! Vishy da!! Fire da!!" 

Nihal Sarin:

Nihal Sarin, 53rd GM of India | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Nihal Sarin: "My favourite game is Aronian vs Anand, 2013. Great dynamics in the position and of course, brilliant attack. Exemplary preparation as well. A complete Anand game." 

B. Adhiban 

B. Adhiban, India's 23rd GM | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Adhiban: "I think Aronian-Vishy would be my favourite as it was an epic game with lots of fiery sacrifices!"

S. Arun Prasad

Arun Prasad, 18th GM of India | Photo: Chess connections blog

Arun Prasad: "Its really difficult to choose what is Anand's best obviously, but Anand himself said he likes his game against Aronian which he played in Wijk Aan Zee in 2013 which is almost identical with Rotlewi- Rubinstein game. That would be my choice because it is hard to see such games at top level. These days most of the wins are positional grinds. Due to such games we feel like chess has not lost its romanticism."


It's now time to have a look at the much awaited game Aronian vs Anand. The annotations are done by Anand himself for CBM 153.

Anand compared his game above with the one played by Rubinstein against Rotlewi. For all those who haven't seen this game yet, can do so here. 

Sundararajan Kidambi:

Sundararajan Kidambi, 19th GM of India | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Anand vs Kasparov, World Championship 1995, Game 9

Kasparov has just moved his queen to e6. What did Anand play?

S. Kidambi: "Rd5 exchange sacrifice against Garry in the World championship 1995 comes to mind. Considering the World Championship status and not forgetting it was the very first final for Vishy and also the might of his opponent, I like this game.


This game of Anand versus Kasparov was annotated by Vishy Anand himself in CBM 49:


Sethuraman, 24th GM of India | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Kramnik vs Anand, Bonn 2008, game 5

Kramnik has just played his bishop back to f1 and has two strong queenside passers! He should be winning right? Well, Anand had something under his sleeve! Can you find out?

Sethuraman: "Vishy Anand has played too many great games to name one. But if I had to then I would choose Game 5 of the Bonn World Championship Match 2008 between Kramnik-Anand in Meran. Be it the new concept in opening prep, the principled fight against a very solid Kramnik and nice tactics with ...Ne3 (check position above) inspired me a lot back then."


Analysis of Kramnik vs Anand in CBM 127 by GM Igor Stohl:

Sandipan Chanda:

Sandipan Chanda (007!), 9th GM of India | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Ivanchuk vs Anand, Linares 1992

White has just taken the knight on f6. How do you recapture?

How to create some play in this endgame? Black to play.

Perhaps the most anti-intuitive move of the game. What is the strong move that Vishy played here?

Sandipan Chanda: "Amidst so many brilliant games in such a rich career- Ivanchuk- Anand, Linares 1992 came to mind first. gxf6- followed by h5- then Bc4 - (all three positions above) What is this? Positional understanding? Creativity? It made a very strong impression back in the days. It still does."


Annotations of Ivanchuk vs Anand by Vishy Anand himself in CBM 031:

Surya Sekhar Ganguly:

Surya Sekhar Ganguly with his better half Sudeshna. Surya became India's 8th GM | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Karjakin vs Anand, Wijk Aan Zee, 2006

This is a crazy complex Najdorf. Vishy White seems to have been coordination. How did Anand (Black) find a way to get all his forces together?

Ganguly: "Aronian - Anand (from Wijk Aan Zee 2013) is one of my favourites. I liked everything about the game....preparation, imagination, calculation, aesthetic beauty. Everything! I also like Karjakin - Anand Najdorf game. Specially because I got to know from Anand that ...Nc7!! (position above) was played over the board and was not a part of his preparation."


The above game Karjakin Anand was also liked by one more GM of India:

GM Arjun Erigaisi, 55th GM of India | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Arjun Erigaisi: "Thank you for doing this article on our chess legend! Thank you for considering me as a competent contributor. My favourite game of Anand is against Karjakin from Wijk Aan Zee 2006. I was really very much impressed with the plan of 24...Nc7!! followed by ...Rc8! Happy birthday to Vishy Anand!


The game Karjakin vs Anand with annotations by Ftacnik in CBM 111:


K. Priyadharshan:

GM K. Priyadharshan, 44th GM of India | Photo: Webster University

Vishy Anand vs Joel Lautier, Biel 1997

White's next move is that of a genius! How did Vishy respond?

Priyadharshan: "First of all, I would like to wish Vishy Anand a very happy birthday and to enrich the chess world with his wisdom and knowledge for years to come. As someone who looked up to him since the day I started playing chess, it always has been a proud moment, when he won various accolades in the international arena.  My favourite game of Vishy Anand is against Joel Lautier from 1997 Biel tournament. I had the opportunity to look at this game very recently, and I was stunned when I saw the move 20.h6!! (position above). The game, in general, was vibrant from a strategic viewpoint, as white had the initiative throughout the game, and Anand annotated this game in Mega Database, and it was very insightful to understand the game with the legend's own annotation."


Here's the game with Anand's annotation published in CBM 60:

Sasikiran Krishnan:

Sasikiran with his wife Radhika. Sasi is the 5th GM of India | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Anand vs Caruana, Sinquefield Cup 2017 

Caruana has just blocked the check with ...Re5. How did Anand finish off the game?

Sasikiran: "It is very difficult to choose from many games of Anand. But Anand-Caruana from the Sinquefield Cup 2017 stands out, because Anand got no advantage from the opening, but proceeded to outplay this year's challenger from a roughly even middlegame and finished it with a fantastic quiet move 26.Qd4!! (position above). I like to see many more great games like these from Anand. I wish him a very happy birthday! and a great year ahead."


The game Anand vs Caruana has been annotated in CBM 180 by Mihail Marin:

Saptarshi Roy:

GM Saptarshi Roy, 51st GM of India | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Anand vs Beliavsky, Groningen, 1993

Black has just played his queen to h4. What did Vishy Anand play here?

Saptarshi Roy: "First I want to wish Vishy for his 49th Birthday! My favourite game of Vishy Anand is Anand-Beliavsky 1993, Groningen. I remember I was 7 years old that time and was looking for some attacking line against the Najdorf. I found this game in Chess Mate which was the main source to steady and update chess in 1993. I saw this game 3 times and learnt how to play the English attack with 7.f3, g4, h4, 0-0-0 and 13.Bh3 with the idea to sacrifice on e6. And then came 20.Nde6!! (position above) I was so happy to see this game and decided to play this line. I have played this line in more than 500 games from childhood and until now my score has been 90% with white! I wish our Indian God in Chess Vishy Anand a Very Happy and Prosperous life!"


Annotations of Anand vs Beliavsky by Anatoli Vaisser in CBM 039:

M.R. Venkatesh:

GM M.R. Venkatesh, 28th GM of India | Photo: Priyadarshan Banjan

Topalov vs Anand, World Championship 2010, game 12

White has played the move Ne3. How did Anand manage to retain the title? Black to play.

M.R. Venkatesh: "It's a difficult task to choose a single game because Vishy has played loads of beautiful games, but in particular I like his World championship match against Topalov in Sofia 2010. I feel all the games were hard fought and very interesting. Vishy scored three wins in this match all of them are very nice in their own way. He played beautiful positional chess and won the 2nd game. He played a terrific attacking game and won the 4th game but my favourite is the final one - because the match score was even. Whoever wins would become the World Champion. In such a tense situation Vishy remained calm and showed good preparation, equalized the game quite easily and once he got his chance he pounced and finished the game in a neat manner!"  


Replay Topalov vs Anand with annotations by the inimitable Anish Giri:


I hope that you enjoyed the article as much as it was fun for me to compile it. Every few hours I would receive an email from a GM with Anand's favourite game and I would open it up in my Mega Database and go over the game. With every game I saw I couldn't believe that there could be such a variety of tactical motifs that Anand had shown in his games. White or Black didn't really matter. He could serve with both hands! Be it World Championship, Wijk Aan Zee, Linares, or any other tournament, Vishy always aimed at giving his best. And these gems are what he has created! I am sure we will see many more from him in the years to come.


At the Candidates 2016, when we were in Moscow covering the event, Amruta took this brilliant photo of Vishy Anand after he beat Levon Aronian in round 9:

Jaideep Unudurti, a famous journalist commented back then - "Looks like a still from a Sanjay Gupta movie - Kaante or Musafir!"

I think after seeing Anand's above games one really starts to feel that he is a movie hero! The combinations, tactics and ideas that he has been able to execute in his chess career is simply impossible for most of us mortals to even fathom! Keep going Vishy, keep playing! The world wants to see more such gems from you.

Best birthday comments to Anand on social media:

On the ChessBase India Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube pages we published posts asking people to send their birthday wishes to Vishy Anand on 11th of December. The best ones, we promised, would be published in an article on our newspage. Here are a few that we liked very much.


Viral Parekh on Facebook:

At the age when grey cells start fading out, you are giving scientists a reason to research, why isn't it with you. At the age when people retire from their profession, you still are crossing milestones one after another. At the age when a champion sportsman is just an old reference model for new generation players to follow, you are still a player and a fighter like a true living legend (read playing legend). Practically, Age is just a number for you. This is just a birthday. This is yet another 365 day journey of creating new records and giving birth to thousands of new player this year again. Just like a single-man-army, you brought a Chess Revolution to the country. Not just an Icon, Legend, or a Role Model, You Are The Destination for millions of dreamers. Wishing you Sir, a great birthday.


Bhaskar Sanjeevi Nagiah on Facebook:

 Anand is from Tamil Nadu where actor Rajnikanth is superstar even at the age of 65 years. Likewise he will remain as superstar in chess for ever


Maya Rani on Facebook:

Happy birthday to the legend! You showed us how can a world champion be the example of dignity and elegance. You are a true inspiration and role model for any chess player. You make us all proud!


Arif endgame on YouTube:

I have no words to say.
You are the true power of Indian chess
You are one of the precious gem in the chess history
You are the only one sport person who get Strengthen by ur age
That is why at the age of 23 I still dream to be a GRAND MASTER.


Shivam Yadav on YouTube:

Vishy Anand is undoubtedly the greatest sportsman India has ever produced, even greater than Sachin Tendulkar and yes I won't shy away from this comparison. Chess in India is synonymous to Vishy. By beating Nakamura in blitz tiebreaks recently, he showed to the entire world that his instincts are still as sharp as before. He has and will silence his critics with such great performances again and again.  With every year that passes, the Madras tiger gets hungrier and hungrier. Happy birthday to our legend, and I hope his games and life will keep inspiring generations of chess players from India and abroad.


Gudyman on YouTube:

Bharat ratna for this legend.. let us get him that.. i think that will be the greatest tribute to his contribution. If Indian chess is where it is now we owe it all to this one man who from '88 has put India right up there. Bharat Ratna Viswanathan Anand! Happy birthday..


Rajavadi Rajkotian on Instagram:

This day should be celebrated as NATIONAL CHESS DAY ! Happy birthday to a man who continuesly inspires and encourages the nation about chess for not only play but also to WIN!

Vishy Anand 49 blitz tournament:

In the honour of Anand's 49th birthday we have organized a blitz tournament on the 25th of December on Playchess. The total prize fund is Rs.49,000 and there are many more Vishy Anand souvenirs to be won. Check out the article here and enroll today for a special discount.

CB 15 Mega Pack:

If you read the above article closely, you will see that these brilliant games of Anand have all been annotated. Some of them by annotators like Marin, Ftacnik, Vaisser, Giri and some by Vishy Anand himself. All in all this is high quality content. Where do you get access to all of them. These are the games you can find in Mega Database 2019. But Mega Database is released once every year. Does it mean that ChessBase collects these games and adds them once every year in Mega Database? No! ChessBase has a magazine called CBM (ChessBase Magazine) which is released every two months. There are a lot of annotated games in them. CBM has six issues every year and the accumulated annotated games are then added to the next version of Mega Database. Hence in Mega Database 2019 you will find over 72000 annotated games. But you can get new annotated games every two months if you subscribe to ChessBase Magazine. To solve all your worries ChessBase India has come up with the new product CB 15 Mega Pack where you not only get ChessBase 15, but also Mega Database 2019, one year of ChessBase Premium Account and six issues of ChessBase Magazine.


CB 15 Mega Pack includes:

*ChessBase 15 (Rs.3149)

*Mega Database 2019 (with one year weekly updates) - (Rs.4999)

*1 year of ChessBase Premium Account - (Rs.1499)

*1 year of ChessBase Magazine (6 issues of CBM) - (Rs.699*6 = 4194)

Actual cost: Rs.13841

CB 15 Mega Pack cost: Rs.8999

Total savings: Rs. 4842

** Note: These prices above are without GST.

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