India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.
Viswanathan Anand wins first of his five world titles
December 24, 2000: Viswanathan Anand is among India’s greatest sportspersons of all time. In 2000, he became the first Asian to win the World Chess Championship.
He went on to lift the world title four more times. He is also one of the most durable champions in any sport. His greatest contribution, however, is that he almost single-handedly turned India into one of the major powers in chess, by inspiring thousands of children to take up the mind sport as a career.
(Excerpts from an interview published in The Hindu in 2018)
FULL INTERVIEW | I’m proud that I could make a difference to chess in my country, says Viswanathan Anand
In an interview with Sportstar in 2020, Anand was asked to trace the history of chess, which was fitting given that it had originated in India. The genial genius not only did that, but connected the history to his first World title in 2000.
“When I won in Iran, my journey mirrored the ancient paths of chess,” he said. “I was living in Spain at that time. The two venues of the championship were New Delhi and Tehran. These were the first three countries where chess seems to have played first.”
READ | Viswanathan Anand: My first World title mirrored ancient paths of chess
The chess maestro, who won three world titles between 2010 and 2017, was named the Sportsman of the Decade (Individual non-Olympic sports) at the 2021 Sportstar ACES Awards.
Anand triumphed at the World Rapid Chess Championship in Riyadh in 2017 at the age of 48, after winning the more prestigious classical chess category at Sofia in 2010 and Moscow in 2012.
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