Chess maestro Viswanathan Anand, 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 age 48, after winning the more prestigious classical chess category at Sofia in 2010 and Moscow in 2012.
“I’m really delighted to win the Sportsman of the Decade award. For me, that includes two World Championships, the qualification [for the World Chess Championship] in 2014 and the World Rapid Championship in 2017. Each one of these was very significant for me, and emotionally draining. All these four events, in different ways, were very special; you live through a lot,” said Anand, commenting on those triumphs.
“Two of them, I was coming back after very difficult periods in my career, and the two matches were obviously very dramatic. One went to the tiebreak, one finished in the last round after a volcano ride. So, a very special decade for me, and I’m very proud that you all think that I’m the sportsperson of the decade.”
Some of the other significant wins for Anand in this decade were the St Louis Champions (US) title in 2016 and the Tal Memorial Rapid title in Moscow in 2018. The decade also saw him help India share a historic gold medal with Russia at the Online Chess Olympiad in August 2020.
The 2021 edition of the Sportstar ACES Awards honoured the Giants of the Decade in Indian sport, with the winners being assessing on their performance and consistency from 2011 to 2020. Eleven awards were presented under the popular choice category, which was open to public voting, along with 14 jury awards as well as special recognition awards under two new categories – Sports for Good and Giants off the Field – that recognise the work of organisations and individuals who have used sports for the betterment of society.