If you are a fan of chess, you can't have missed the career of the Indian legend Viswanathan Anand. Having played the game since a tender age, Vishy starts 2020 as his fourth decade in the world of sixty-four squares.
Also known as the 'Lightning Kid' in his early days, he has gone on to gain more titles than one could ever imagine. The biggest one is not one of his five world championships but that of the status of a legend called the 'Tiger of Madras'.
On December 11, 2019, Anand scored a half century. He turned 50 years old. Anand didn't pass this special day for any other as he released his autobiography co-authored by Susan Ninan of ESPN fame.
The book chronicles some of his most illustrious moments in his chess career and points out a few crucial lessons learnt. It is to be said that the book is unlike other chess manuals that present in-depth analysis of games. In his book, "Mind Master: Winning Lessons from a Champion's Life", Anand has shared approximately 250 pages of sheer thrill for any aspiring person, be it a chess player or an entrepreneur, etc. The guidance given by the legend talks to one's mind as if it's motivating oneself to kick up and peddle harder because there isn't any finish line. Ever.
Anand also shares some details in his book that are often not found in his interviews. He speaks from his heart and delves into his soul. His journey shows that no amount of talent is sufficient without hard work. We also get a chance to be up-close to his inner circle of family members, friends, 'seconds'/trainers, and other mentors.
Vishy talks about each of his World championship titles and every one of them recites a tale of nerves and excitement combined. Right from his first attempt with Kasparov in 1995 at the top of the World Trade Centre to Gelfand in Moscow 2012, Anand discloses it all. He also writes about his unsuccessful attempts to defend in 2013 and reclaim in 2014, after a surprise win at the Candidates in 2014 amongst a 'fresh' field.
It was also quite interesting to note how top players often offered to assist him in whatever way that they could be it Kasparov in 2008 against Kramnik (though they later parted ways when Anand didn't support Kasparov in the FIDE elections) to Magnus Carlsen playing practice games against him against Topalov in 2010.
In his chapter on the 2010 World Championship match, Anand recounts the gruelling car ride that he had to take to reach Sophia, Bulgaria to play the match on time due to the weather conditions and the surprisingly unsupportive demeanour of the organisers. It was humorous how Anand turned such a big moment in his career into something so trivial. He joked about the 'adventurous' automobile journey by recalling how his team managed to binge watch films and other television shows, needing that so-called down-time instead of a planned chess training session.
One can go on and on about the details of the book. However, one doesn't want to reveal further.
Vishy Anand proves in his book that his chess career is more than just a career. It is his life story that has made him into this mega-star, who has single-handedly managed to inspire a nation of over a billion citizens to take to the game of chess, where his name is virtually synonymous.