Why Vishy Anand deserves a Bharat Ratna

This article is a heartfelt plea to honor Viswanathan Anand with the Bharat Ratna, a recognition long overdue. 🏆


The Philox

4/6/20243 min read

vishy anand bharat ratna the philox
vishy anand bharat ratna the philox

Viswanathan Anand: A Chess Maestro Worthy of the Bharat Ratna

Celebrating the Grandmaster’s Contributions

India, a nation that reveres its heroes, has witnessed remarkable achievements across various domains. Among these luminaries stands Viswanathan Anand, a chess prodigy who has etched his name in the annals of history. As the clamor for awarding him the Bharat Ratna grows louder, let us delve into why this honor is not just fitting but imperative.

A Trailblazing Journey

Anand’s journey began in the quaint town of Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu. His meteoric rise showcased brilliance from the outset:

  • Early Triumphs: Anand’s chess odyssey commenced at the tender age of six. His mother introduced him to the game, and by 15, he was already an International Master. His victories in the 1984 Asian Junior Championship and the 1987 World Junior Championship foreshadowed greatness.

  • Grandmaster Title: In 1988, Anand earned the coveted Grandmaster (GM) title, becoming the first Indian to achieve this milestone. His rapid tactical calculations and adaptability set him apart.

A Triumph Like No Other

In the world of chess, Anand’s prowess is unparalleled. His journey spans decades, marked by victories and unwavering dedication. Let’s rewind to those iconic moments:

  1. World Championships: Anand has clinched the World Chess Championship title five times—a feat that remains unmatched. His victories in New York City (1995), Tehran (2000), Mexico City (2007), Bonn (2008), and Sofia (2010) elevated India’s standing on the global chess map.

  2. Awards and Honors: Anand’s trophy cabinet is adorned with prestigious accolades:

    • Arjuna Award: At the tender age of 16, he received the Arjuna Award, making him the youngest Indian sportsperson to be honored.

    • Padma Shri: Anand secured this civilian award at 18, further cementing his legacy.

    • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: India’s highest sporting honor was bestowed upon him at the age of 21.

    • Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan: These followed at 31 and 37, respectively. Notably, he became the first Indian sportsperson to receive the Padma Vibhushan.

  3. Chess Oscars: Anand’s six Chess Oscar titles underscore his consistent excellence. His impact transcends mere victories—it’s about inspiring generations of chess enthusiasts.

  4. Global Recognition: Beyond India’s borders, Anand has been honored:

    • Russian Order of Friendship: In 2014, Russia recognized his contributions to economic, scientific, and cultural ties.

    • Spain’s Top Award: Anand received this prestigious honor, further emphasizing his global impact.

  5. A Minor Planet Named After Him: In a celestial tribute, a minor planet was christened “4538 Vishyanand,” making him the first Indian sportsperson to receive such cosmic recognition.

Anand and the Candidates Tournament

Anand’s impact extends to the prestigious Candidates Tournament, where three Indian players—Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, Dommaraju Gukesh, and Vidit Gujrathi—are competing. Anand’s guidance and inspiration have played a pivotal role in nurturing these emerging talents. Their presence in the tournament reflects Anand’s enduring legacy and his commitment to elevating Indian chess on the global stage.

Beyond Chess: A Philanthropic Heart

Anand’s legacy extends beyond the 64 squares. He embodies compassion and social responsibility:

  • NGO Support: He actively supports multiple NGOs, championing causes close to his heart.

  • Gold Medal Auction: Anand selflessly donated his 2008 World Championship gold medal for auction, raising funds for underprivileged children.

  • Inspiring Young Minds: His triumphs inspired a new generation of Indian chess players. The emergence of talents like Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, and Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa bears witness to Anand’s influence.

  • Chennai: The Chess Hub: Anand’s hometown, Chennai, blossomed into a chess powerhouse. The city’s vibrant chess culture, academies, and tournaments owe much to his legacy.

Anand vs. Tendulkar: A Tale of Recognition

While Sachin Tendulkar received the Bharat Ratna in 2014, Anand’s name still awaits this honor. It’s time to rectify this oversight. Anand is to chess what Roger Federer is to tennis and Sachin Tendulkar is to cricket. Let’s begin 2017 with “anand” (joy) by adorning him with the top medallion.

Viswanathan Anand’s contributions transcend chess—they inspire, uplift, and unite. The Bharat Ratna would not merely recognize him; it would celebrate the spirit of excellence that defines our nation. It’s time to crown the chess grandmaster, and in doing so, elevate India’s pride to new heights.

While Anand’s accolades are abundant, the Bharat Ratna remains elusive. It’s time to honor the maestro who transformed India’s chess destiny. Let us celebrate Anand’s brilliance, his role in nurturing young talents, and the enduring legacy of the “Lightning Kid.”

Note: This article is a heartfelt plea to honor Viswanathan Anand with the Bharat Ratna, a recognition long overdue. 🇮🇳🏆