Vishwanathan Anand was recently crowned the undisputed World Chess Champion for winning the title two times consecutively. But very few remember the days when he was not the Grand Master. He has come a long way, indeed.
It was way back in 1986 and the event was the Tata Steel and Alekhine Chess Club International Grandmasters’ Chess Tournament held at Calcutta. Anand narrowly missed the GM norm by a mere half point.
In April 1985, the Executive Committee of the club had proposed and decided to hold the highest (Eighth) category (during those days) International Grand Masters Chess tournament. Interestingly Jagmohan Dalmia was the Finance Committee Chairman !
The tournament was approved by FIDE, AICF etc. The main sponsor was TISCO and the Co-Sponsor- Air India
- GM Andrew Soltis from USA,
- GM Razuvaev, GM Tseshkovsky and GM Agzamov from USSR,
- GM Y. Jansa from Czechoslovakia,
- GM V.Inkiov from Yugoslavia
- GM norm holder Niaz Murshad from Bangla Desh and
- Seven Indians A.B.Vaidya, Praveen Thipsay, A.B.Meetei, Ravikumar, D.V.Prasad, Dibyendu Barua and Viswanathan Anand
Some highlights from the tournament were
- GM Agzamov won the tournament. He was unbeaten till the end.
- GM norm holder Niaz Murshad became Runner Up and got his GM title from this tourney.
- The most entertaining participant was the oldest Grand Master from Czech Republic -Y.Jansa.
- For GM Soltis, Chess meant enjoyment, entertainment and hobby than a competition.
- The Russian GMs were always serious about the game
- Dibyendu, the local lad could not live up to the expectations
- Anand scored 9 points and missed the GM norm by half a point
I was there to witness the sadness in his face. But the fighter that he was, he did not give up so easily. He soon became India’s youngest Grand Master in less than a year’s time and then there was no looking back.
On 11th December 2008, the Indian Cricket captain Mahender Singh Dhoni will be falicitating Anand with a Diamond Ring on behalf of the cricketing fraternity and the entire country in Chennai. What a moment that is going to be !
We owe it to Anand to take this lesser known game to international levels and bringing glory to the country.
You are a true world champion, Anand.
We wish you good luck !!!
Image Credit: dlkinney