Viswanathan Anand, popularly known as 'Vishy, the Tiger from Madras' is the first Asian to win the World Chess Championship title. He was born on December 11, 1969 in Chennai to Krishnamurthy Viswanathan and Susheela. His father is a retired general manager, Southern Railways.
Anand completed his schooling from Don Bosco school and finished his B.Com from Loyola College in Chennai.
He started playing chess at the age of 6. He learned the game from his mother because his brothers did not have the patience to play chess with him. His parents encouraged him and used to take him to the Tal Chess club. Young Anand had an exceptional memory power and an ability to grasp things fast which made him excel in Chess.
He has won many titles even from a young age. Anand became India's Sub- Junior Chess Champion at 13 and at sixteen he became the National Champion. In 1987, he became the first Asian to win the World Junior Chess Championship at Baguio City, Philippines and in 1988, at the age of eighteen, Anand became India's first Grandmaster.
In 1992, he won the formidable Reggio Emilia tournament ahead of the Russian masters Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. He was the runner up to Kasparov in World Championship final in 1995. He beat Kasparov in the rapid chess tournament in September 96 and Karpov in June 97 in Hamburg Rapid Chess. Anand outplayed the most popular chess software programme, Fritz in July, 99. He won the title on 24th December 2000, defeating Spain's Alexei Shirovyoungest at Teheran and became the first Asian to take the world title, but his victory was overshadowed by the chess world's two competing chess titles one by the International Federation of Chess and the Professional Association of Chess led by Kasporov.
In September 2007 Anand again became World Champion again by winning that year's FIDE World Championship Tournament held in Mexico City. And in 2008, Anand retained his World Class Chess title with a draw against Vladmir Kramnik, Russia. With this victory, he achieved the unique distinction of winning this in three formats - knockout format in 2000, tournament format in 2007 and match format in 2008.
Anand has also received many awards; Arjuna Award for Outstanding Indian Sportsman in 1985, Padma Shri Award (1987), National Citizens Award and Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (1991-1992), Padma Bhushan Award (2000), Chess Oscar 4 times (1997, 1998, 2003 and 2004) and so on. He wrote a book 'My Best Games of Chess' for which he got the British Chess Federation 'Book of the Year' Award in 1998.
Anand married Aruna in 1996 and she supports him in his preparations for the tournaments. He lives in Collado Mediano in Spain with Aruna. This genius, although he has achieved so much still remains simple in character. His hobbies are reading, swimming and listening to music.