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Vishy's December #02 - Inspiration, teammate, second!

by Sandipan Chanda - 02/12/2019

Sandipan Chanda, the ninth GM of Indian chess, recounts his journey from being a youngster who was amazed by Anand's play to being his team mate at the 2004 Chess Olympiad, to being his second and helping him in various tournaments. Sandipan is one of those few people who know Vishy Anand from close quarters and have spent a lot of time with him. This December, ChessBase India is celebrating the month as Vishy's December in honour of the Indian chess legend Vishy Anand turning 50 years old. If you have a story, experience or an anecdote related to Anand which you would like to share with the chess world, you can send it to us at

Anand made people realize playing chess is meaningful

By Sandipan Chanda


The time when I started playing chess coincided with Anand rising towards the top of world chess. It was the early nineties. While there was the obvious inspiration of seeing an Indian making it to the greatest heights, there was a lot of indirect influence as well. In those days in India, people would raise their eye brows hearing that a young boy plays chess, let alone that he might make it his profession. The name of Anand slowly made people recognize – friends, families, your school or potential sponsors - that playing chess is something meaningful. This is the story of all Indian players of my generation. And for many more who came later.

Ganguly, Chanda (the author of these lines) and Hari, three strong GMs of India chess who became stronger when Anand was at the height of his powers! | Photo: Sophie Triay

I first saw Anand, when he came to play at the Goodricke International open in Kolkata in 1992. There is an old photo where Surya, Neelotpal and me - all three of us about 8-9 year old - are with Anand at Gorky Sadan (the Russian Cultural Centre in Kolkata) during the tournament.

The next time I saw Anand was when he invited some of us Indian players in 2002 to Chennai for a few days. That’s the first time I got a chance to interact with him. Looking back, it is interesting to remember that I (like some others in the camp) did not have a laptop then, and the work was done mostly on a chess board, with a few computers running in the background.

Vishy Anand was one of the first adapters of modern technology in the world of chess| Photo: EVR Photography

In 2004 Anand got back playing in the Olympiad (Mallorca) after a gap of over a decade. It was my first Olympiad and was very interesting and special to have Anand in the team. All of us would go to dinner together and hear the view points of Anand, on chess and on life.

At the recently concluded Sinquefield Cup, Sandipan Chanda was Anand's second | Photo: V. Saravanan

I later had the opportunity to work with him, on and off, in the years to follow. It obviously means a lot to be able to interact with one of the best players of all times. I experienced how such a great player thinks and takes decisions. One of the important aspects that I learnt was how Anand and his team prepare openings / prepare for events at the highest levels. And this has been a lifelong lesson for me.

About the author:

Sandipan Chanda is the ninth grandmaster of Indian chess. His highest Elo is 2680. He has represented India at three Chess Olympiads in 2004, 2006 and 2008. He was also Vishy Anand's second in his World Championship Match of 2013.

Previous articles in Vishy's December

#01: Anand Viswanathanovich by Ravi Abhyankar

Want to share an Anand story this December?

This entire December, ChessBase India is celebrating Vishy Anand's 50th birthday. We would like you to contribute any interesting story that you might have with Anand so that we can publish it on our newspage. In case you would like to share, you can do so from this google form link. Alternatively you can also send it to us via

The best article, anecdote, or story submitted and published on our newspage will get this ChessBase 15 copy signed by Vishy Anand!

Make sure you get your hands on Vishy Anand's book Mind Master (written by the man himself), which will be launched on 13th of December 2019.

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