This article is a tribute to Vishwanathan Anand and how much he has done for the game of chess. Before Anand became world chess championship there were many problems with the world chess championship. In many ways Anand probably does not get as much credit as he deserves. Not only is he a brilliant chess player but he has done a lot to restore the reputation of chess.
For starters there was a lot of controversy around the world championship before Anand ascended to the throne. I cannot at this time remember a single controversy in which Anand was implicated in. He is not only a great player but a true gentleman. Does anyone remember how much Anand has to travel to Bulgaria by road to player Veselin Topalov in 2010? 5 Countries over 2,000 kms and 40 hours. At that very point the world chess championship could have descended into a far. Anand could have simply decided not to play or complained about all sorts. We were saved a crisis.
I have at times wished Anand could be more outspoken in the media, push more for sponsorship and basically make more headlines. However, I think this is the one area where not just Anand but the chess bodies need to give some focus and attention.
I would be willing to bet that Anand is probably one of the most likeable Chess Grandmasters around. Despite his genius he does not let this get the better of him. He remains accessible, a very stable family man who is much loved across the world.
Anand has always focussed on chess and does not speak ill of his competitors. Go through as many Anand interviews as you can find. That speaks volumes of the man’s character. He is consistent.
Vishy has steered clear of the messy politics in chess. He could easily have taken sides over the years and pushed for one scenario or another in the chess elections but not Anand. What he does best is push pawns, push pieces, checkmate!
I will not go into the details of the Kramnik – Topalov toiletgate scandal which was fodder for the media and did chess much harm. Anand has allowed us to focus once more on what we love, the game of chess. We will be forever in debt to Anand for giving chess back its sanity and dignity.
Even as we have attacked Anand in his poor form in tournaments he has remained true to form, restrained and waiting to prove his critics wrong once more. He is probably more motivated than ever as waits to unleash the tiger that has dominated chess for so long.
Regardless of the outcome of the match with Magnus Carlsen, there is no doubt that Anand will always hold a very special place with chess players. The one World Chess Champion who gave chess back its Mojo.
Ladies and gentlemen I am in awe of the man, the player, the icon,the legend Vishwanathan Anand who is probably the best chess ambassador we have ever had in the game.