Anand wins World Chess title

Viswanathan Anand won the world title in Mexico after a draw in the final round gave him a total of 9 points out of a possible of 14.

updated: October 01, 2007 16:23 IST
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Mexico City:

India can boast of three world champions in the last 10 days - cricket in the 20-20 World Cup, Pankaj Advani for billiards and now Viswanathan Anand in chess.

The Indian won the world title in Mexico after a draw in the final round gave him a total of 9 points out of a possible of 14.

Anand was unbeaten through the event winning his second world title. The last one had come in Tehran in 2000.

Anand is also the first player since Garry Kasparov in 2000 to be world no 1 and hold the world title.

Best of the best

One of the world's best-loved personalities in chess, 36-year-old Anand is now indisputably the best in the world.

"It is a tough call but becoming world no 1 is bigger for me."

That was Viswanathan Anand's response when asked to choose between becoming world number one or being just the fourth player to crack the 2800 mark on the ELO ratings.

That choice just got a little more complicated now that he's world champion as well. But why make him choose? He's has all three achievements to his name and that's why he's the best in the world.

In fact, the whole of Anand's 23-year career is a series of firsts, mosts and highests.
His rise to international fame was meteoric. In 1983, he was playing the sub-junior level as a 14 year old.

Four years later he was India's first junior world champion and just a year after that, at the age of 18, he became India's first Grandmaster.

He now has two world titles to his name, twenty years after he became world junior chess champion.

He is the only player to have won five titles at the prestigious Corus Chess Championships. He has four chess Oscars given to the best player in the world and was also the first recipient of India's highest sporting honour - the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.

With his long list of distinctions, it would be fair to say that Viswanathan Anand has done for chess in India what Tiger Woods has done for golf worldwide.

He's put his success to good use as well. Anand represents Vidyasagar, formerly the Spastics Society of India, as its global ambassador and hosts a fundraiser for them every year.

For such a successful sportsperson, Anand is very low profile.

He has been living in Spain for several years, but such is his stature that he's probably the most well known Indian sportsperson all over the world given how many countries chess is played in.

He is probably also one of the richest Indian sportspeople in the world but his real riches of course are still his humility, his accessibility and without a doubt, his talent.