Grenke Chess Championship in Baden-Baden Germany spelling the doom for Indian Chess as our Grand Master Mr. Vishwanathan Anand is trailing last but one at the end of 5th round in the Round Robin tournament of 8 players.
On Sunday the 7th February 2015, he blundered and lost miserably to Levon Aronian of Armania. Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Arkadij Niaditsch of Germany are leading with 3.5 points each followed by Caurna in third position with 3 points, Anand is in fifth position with 2.5 points Aronian,Adams and Bacrot hold fourth position each jointly with 1.5 points and Baramidze with 1 point.
Anand has playing Chess World Championships for 20 years now since 1995. He began with Sunday’s match in his unique style of Ragozin variation as black. His opponent Aronian chose a passive line up to move 22. Unfortunately, Anand made a blunder in his 23rd move and lost the match.
46-year old Vishwanathan Anand from Chennai, born on 11 December 1969, became the youngest Indian to win the title of International master at the age of fifteen, in 1984. At the age of 16, he became the National Chess Champion and won that title two more times. He became India’s first Grandmaster in 1988. Anand played his first World Championship in 1995 and lost to Garry Kasparov. He became the FIDE World Chess Champion in 2000 in which the great players like Anatloy Karpov, Garry Kasprov, and new classical World Champion Vladmir Kramnik did not play due to allegations with new tournament set up for the World Chess Championship.
He lost the championship for next 6 years and won again in 2007. From there on he won up to 2014 (except 2009 and 2011). Anand is the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India’s highest sporting honor. In 2007, he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award. Currently he holds a ranking of 2797.
Chess, commonly held to have originated in India as Chaturaṅga, is regaining widespread popularity with the rise in the number of Indian grandmasters. Pentala Harikrishna (17-year younger to Anand and ranking of 2723) and Krishna Sasikiran (5 years younger to Harikrishna and ranking of 2682) are other top chess players in India after Anand.
India has produced 33 grand masters since Anand in 1988 but nobody has reached the level of Anand in international Chess tournaments. The first Indian women grand master was Humpy Kaneru in 2002 and 8 more have been added to the list until 2010.
As a neo-fan of Chess I wonder if any Indian Chess player is able to replace Vishwanathan at International competitions. I am sure many chess enthusiasts will have similar feelings.