Anand’s crown of glory – Frontline


By successful the World Chess Championship last in Teheran, Vishwanathan Anand turns into India’s, and likewise Asia’s, first world chess champion.

GRANDMASTER Pravin Thipsay vividly remembers that sizzling summer season day of 1983. He was taking part in within the Nationwide crew chess championship on the Indian Institute of Expertise, Mumbai, when some gamers instructed him {that a} boy was about to defeat Manuel Aaron, India’ s first Worldwide Grasp (IM) of chess.

He rushed to that board and was shocked to search out the boy wrapped in blankets and woollen garments on that sultry Might afternoon. Thipsay learnt that the boy, representing Madras Colts, was working excessive fever however had insisted on taking part in, and his mom was sitting subsequent to him. He was astonished to notice that Aaron was taking a variety of time on every of his strikes, whereas his younger opponent was replying immediately. When the 13 year-old, gained the sport, he had made all his strikes inside half an hour.

Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand receives the World Chess Championship trophy from President of the Worldwide Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Iliyumzhinov in Teheran on December 27.-VAHID SALEMI/AP

That boy, Vishwanathan Anand, who turned 31 on December 11, is the brand new world chess champion.

After two failed makes an attempt, Anand lastly claimed the crown that he so genuinely-earned at Teheran, when he defeated Alexei Shirov of Spain within the fourth sport of the World Chess Championship last. On December 24, 2000, the nation of 1 billion individuals finally produced a world champion in a genuinely international and aggressive sport. It was the proudest second within the historical past of Indian sport.

However Anand’s triumph doesn’t belong solely to India. He’s additionally Asia’s first world chess champion, and the primary non-white to win the title. There has by no means been a extra widespread champion. It’s wonderful how individuals from completely different elements of the world love this man. Really, he is among the nicest grandmasters ever.

Through the World Championship in New Delhi the place the matches as much as the semifinal stage have been held lately, this correspondent met Maia Chiburdanidze from Georgia, who grew to become the ladies’s world champion when she was 17. When Anand’s title was talked about, her face brightened. “What may I say about Vishy?” Maia exulted. “I simply love him. He is sort of a diamond. He’s my favorite chess participant. He ought to turn into the world champion quickly. He has every little thing – expertise, ambition and all different attributes of a champion . Let’s hope he wins this world championship, for the sake of the sport.”

The sport wanted somebody like Anand on the high – non-controversial, humble, accessible, affable and brilliantly gifted. Had a lesser participant emerged because the winner on this championship, he might not have been accepted by everybody because the world champion. It hap pened to Russia’s Alexander Khalifman when he gained the title at Las Vegas final yr. He was all the time known as the FIDE (the governing physique of world chess) world champion, for he was not even among the many world’s high 20 gamers.

Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was proclaimed the 15th world champion simply two months in the past after his victory over the “invincible” Gary Kasparov within the Braingames world title match in London. By no means has the tenure of a world champion been so brief as that of Okay ramnik. The 25-year-old has definitely a proper to really feel that he has a declare to be the champion. He defeated Kasparov in a match (the place one performed a protracted sequence of video games with one participant, in contrast to in tournaments), one thing no human being may ever do. He was the World No. 2 on the time.

However one additionally has to think about that Kramnik grew to become the champion by successful simply two video games, in opposition to an opponent who was taking part in within the poorest kind in his profession. Anand, however, performed 20 video games, although not all his opponents have been potential world c hampions, gained eight and didn’t lose any. He performed in a punishing knock-out format, which had no relaxation day earlier than the ultimate. And aside from one sport – within the 25-minute tie-breakers – he was all the time in command.

It was Khalifman, essentially the most underrated world champion in historical past, who threatened to destroy the hopes of a complete nation. However he squandered his possibilities in that quarter-final sport and, on that chilly night at Resort Hyatt Regency in New Delhi one may a lmost hear a collective sigh of aid from Anand’s crew, spouse Aruna, the mediapersons and the spectators.

Final yr’s last was between Khalifman and Vladimir Akopian of Armenia, who don’t belong to the cream of world chess. No one exterior the FIDE was keen to acknowledge Anatoly Karpov because the world champion after his victory over Victor Korchnoi of the Netherlands in 1978. For all sensible functions, Karpov had misplaced his crown to Kasparov in 1985.

It was Kasparov’s variations with FIDE that led to the confusion about two world champions. Since 1990, the Russian, thought of the strongest participant of all time, by no means performed in a world championship organised by FIDE. He organised parallel world title m atches, which have been extensively accepted as a result of Kasparov was undoubtedly the most effective participant on the planet. However now he’s now not the world champion – he couldn’t win a single sport in that sequence of 16 in opposition to Kramnik – and he can’t dismiss Anand as a FIDE cha mpion.

Even when one counts Kramnik, Anand is barely the 16th world chess champion in its 114-year-old historical past. He’s solely the sixth champion of non-Russian origin, and the primary because the American Bobby Fischer outwitted Boris Spassky within the unforgettable duel of 1972 in Iceland. That may give a good thought of how outstanding this achievement of Anand is.

THERE was no Indian earlier than him to indicate the way in which for Anand. Though chess was born in India, within the sixth century A.D., till the arrival of Anand the nation noticed few top-quality gamers. The one Indian to make his presence felt on the highest stage was S ultan Khan, who made headlines in Britain within the 1920s when he beat gamers equivalent to former world champion Jose Raul Capablanca of Cuba.

In contrast to the world champions from Russia, Anand didn’t have nice gamers as trainers. He’s a sheer genius, born, and in no way made. That makes his achievement even higher.

Even earlier than he grew to become the world champion, Anand had contributed immensely to the game within the nation. Single-handedly he impressed 1000’s of younger youngsters all through the nation to study the sport, and right this moment India is among the many world’s greatest when it comes to junior expertise.

Within the final 5 years, India has gained six titles on the planet youth championships. Two younger Indian grandmasters, Abhijit Kunte and Krishnan Sasikiran, have already begun making a mark on the greater stage. There’s a 14-year-old lad in Guntur, Pendyala H arikrishna, who threatens to take the world by storm. Not distant from Guntur, 13-year-old Koneru Humpy has a group of three world titles at her residence in Vijayawada. Twenty-one-year-old S. Vijayalakshmi, who grew to become the nation’s first girl grandmas ter in July (Frontline, August 18, 2000), gained a silver on the chess Olympiad in November in Istanbul, the place the Indian males’s crew was the shock bundle of the event, ending eighth, a splendid effort, with out the providers of Anand.

India is certainly the nation to be careful for in world chess. Anand’s victory may drive the federal government and company homes to see chess in a brand new mild.

Only a few males have formed the sporting future of their nations the way in which Anand has. “I made a decision to place my daughter into chess simply due to Anand,” G.Emayavaramban, the daddy of nationwide Beneath-18 women’ champion J.E. Kavitha, stated.

S. Krishnan, whose 19-year-old son Sasikiran, is the most effective Indian participant after Anand, says it was certainly the Anand issue that gave him the braveness to plan a profession in chess for his solely youngster. “I used to play the sport, however it was Anand’s success that con vinced me that my son may have a fruitful profession in chess,” he stated.

FOR his dad and mom Vishwanathan and Sushila, who taught Anand the sport on the age of six, there merely was no such possibility. “We observed Anand’s extraordinary reminiscence when he was three,” Sushila Vishwanathan stated. “He used to select all the time the proper data of music from the shelf even earlier than he learnt to learn. He was superb at lecturers.”

Anand went to Don Bosco College, Egmore, Chennai, and within the evenings he would head straight to the Tal Chess Membership, on the Russian Cultural Centre, on Kasturi Ranga Street. Recollects Worldwide Grasp Lanka Ravi, who was Anand’s teammate for 2 Olympiads: “At the moment there weren’t many chess clocks on the membership, so there was a rule that solely the winner of the sport may retain his seat. The loser must vacate his seat. Extra usually Anand retained his seat via the evening. If he had misplaced a sport, he would come again the subsequent day to defeat the identical participant in the identical variation (strikes), however this time he could be higher ready.”

T.S. Ravi, who was additionally there on the membership with Anand, says it didn’t take him lengthy to understand that he was within the presence of a genius. “I used to be satisfied that he was completely different from all of us when he beat Manuel Aaron in that nationwide crew championship in Mumbai,” he stated.

After he gained the nationwide championship, Anand made fairly a stir when he grew to become the primary Asian to win the world junior championship in 1987. The identical yr he grew to become India’s first grandmaster. In 1991, at Tilburg, he grew to become solely the second participant to beat each Kasparov and Karpov in the identical event, and the next yr he gained the Reggio Emilia tourney, which was the strongest chess event held till then. By now, in British Grandmaster Raymond Keene’s phrases, Anand had turned “from a promising a grandmaster” to a “particular future candidate for the world title”.

Anand had his first crack at a world title match in 1995, however he misplaced to a supremely assured and well-prepared Kasparov within the Skilled Chess Affiliation match in New York. He ought to have gained the world title in 1998 at Lausanne, however for a stupidly unfair system that made him play a sequence of powerful knock-out matches at Groningen, whereas all his opponent, Karpov, needed to do was simply watch for a bodily and mentally drained Anand.

However Anand used the expertise he gained from these matches to win the final word crown in chess on his third try. He additionally silenced these critics who stated that he lacked the psychological power to turn into the world champion.

Each in New Delhi and in Teheran, it was Anand’s rivals who appeared to have a psychological block in opposition to him. It was a really superlative show. He confirmed no strain of taking part in at residence, however appeared to take pleasure in it, as individuals showered him with affection. “It seems to be really easy to play chess if you see Anand in motion,” Grandmaster Pia Cramling, a trendsetter in girls’s chess, stated.

For India, which gained simply three particular person medals on the Olympics in 48 years, the very considered Anand must be a factor of pleasure.

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