As I write this, Anand and Carlsen—the 23-year old chess wunderkind and future ‘greatest of all time’—are locked in aWorld Chess Championship battle, their second in consecutive years, this time at Sochi (Russia). After 3 games, they’re 1.5 points a piece—winning one game each after drawing the first. This is the first game Anand has won over his younger opponent since 2010. We’re definitely in for a more competitive match than 2013, where Anand was destroyed 6.5-3.5 over 12 games.
Carlsen, of course, has been World no. 1 and the indisputable best player in the world for more than four years now (at age 19), and is Reigning World Champion in rapid, classical and blitz formats.
Between 2007 and 2012, 5-time World Champion Anand enjoyed a second wind—possibly the best time in his career, and was ranked no. 1 in many lists for large periods of time. He still remains the only chess player to have won the World Championship in match, tournament as well as knockout formats.
After Anand lost in Chennai last year, he went back to the drawing board, and actually won the 128-player Candidates tournament to win the right back to play for the Championship.
Everything you need to know about India’s first ever Chess Grandmaster, and perhaps India’s most decorated sportsman ever (apart from Pankaj Advani):
– Anand has a head-to-head winning record against most famous Chess Grandmasters except Kasparov (W5, L16, D31). Against Carlsen, he has won 6, lost 6 and drawn 28.
– The first time Anand reached the World no. 1 ranking spot in FIDE ratings was only in April 2007, before which he had never been ranked outside the top 3 (until July 2008). He took over the World no. 1 ranking from young Carlsen in November 2010, but was overtaken in July 2011.
-Anand became India’s first and only World Champion back in 2000, after which he went 7 years before winning the next title in 2007. Then he won in 2008, 2010 and 2012 again.
-He is on the board of directors for India’s Olympic Gold Quest.
-Kasparov and Kramnik, both long-time rivals and ex World Champions, have aided Anand in preparation for World Championships (2010), which Anand subsequently won.
-‘Vishy’ was awarded the Padma Shri at age 18.
-Anand lives with his wife Aruna and son Akhil in Madrid, Spain.
-He is regarded as the most versatile Champion in Chess history, after winning over all formats.
-His current rank, as he plays against Carlsen for the 2014 World Championship, is 6.