Anand Viswanathan - World Chess Champion and Vegetarian
Chess is an intriguing game requiring intense concentration. The players analyze every move and its repercussions. Patience. High Intelligence. Remorseless offense. Complex defense. This is not a game for the weak and sentimental.
The current World Champion, Viswanathan Anand comes from an Orthodox Hindu Brahmin family in India. Vishy started playing chess at the tender age of six. His lightning speed of play & intuition saw him through as the Youngest National Champion at the age of 16.
In 1987 he became the First Asian to win the World Junior Championship. He carved a special place on the chessboard by winning the strongest tournament at that time, the "Reggio Emilia" in Italy in 1991 ahead of Kasparov & Karpov.
He has been a World Championship challenger in the PCA (New York 1995) & FIDE (1997 Lausanne) cycles. He has the distinction of winning the Strongest knock out tournament in recent chess history in Groningen in December 1997.
He has also won the Linares Super Torneo in 1998, the strongest tournament at this point. His other great victories include the Melody Amber tournament (1994 & 1997), the Credit Suisse Masters (1997), Dos Hermanas (1997) and Wijk Aan Zee (1998).
Anand is currently rated NUMBER Two in the World in both the rating lists, namely, the PCA & the FIDE lists. He is the World Champion by virtue of his victory in the Championship in Tehran earlier this year.
He lives in Collado Mediano in Spain with his wife Aruna.
Wherever he goes, he ensures that his diet is always vegetarian. There is no question of mental exhaustion because of the lack of a meat-based diet.
And there's another Chess Champion in the making who is also strictly vegetarian. That's the 19-year-old Hungarian Grand Master Peter Leko, who won his biggest career title winning the Super Grand Master Tournament at Dortmund, Germany, ahead of World No. 2 & 3 players Anand and Kramnik with a plus three score. He won against Adams, Topalov and Timman and drew the rest to finish with 5/7 half-a-point ahead of Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. He is currently ranked No. 9 in the world and is Hungary's best player for the last two years ahead of Judit Polgar.
Leko has been in the fringe for a long time and was due for a big tournament win. That has come at the right time with the FIDE World Championships, Las Vegas, USA, just a fortnight away. Consistency has been his forte and his losses have been far and few. A vegetarian, sticking to natural food, Leko has been in the spotlight ever since he became the youngest Grand Master in the world in 1994. Though this record has been broken, his focus is steadfast and moving to the top ten should inspire him to set his sights on the World Title.