Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000, at a time when the world title was split. His win in the World Chess Championship 2007 has made him the undisputed World Champion since 2007. He will defend his title in the World Chess Championship 2008 against Vladimir Kramnik in October-November 2008.
Anand is one of four players in history to break the 2800 mark on the FIDE rating list. He was on the top of the world rating list five out of six times from April 2007 to July 2008. In October 2008, he dropped out of the world top 3 for the first time since July 1996.
In 2007 he was awarded the second highest civilian award of India, the Padma Vibhushan. He is also the first receipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991-92, India's highest sporting honour. In a 2008 article for Time Magazine, Anand expressed satisfaction that the World Championship title had come back to India, the country where Chess originated.
"Vishy", as he is sometimes called by his friends, burst upon the upper echelons of the chess scene in the early 1990s, winning such tournaments as Reggio Emilia 1991 (ahead of Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov). Playing at such a high level did not slow him down either, and he continued to play games at blitz speed.
In 1994-95 Anand and Gata Kamsky dominated the qualifying cycles for the rival FIDE and PCA world championships. In the FIDE cycle (FIDE World Chess Championship 1996), Anand lost his quarter-final match to Kamsky after leading early. Kamsky went on to make championship match against Karpov.
In the 1995 PCA cycle, Anand won matches against Oleg Romanishin and Michael Adams without a loss, then avenged his FIDE loss by defeating Gata Kamsky in the Candidates final. In 1995, he played the PCA World Chess Championship 1995 against Kasparov in New York City's World Trade Center. After an opening run of eight draws (a record for the opening of a world championship match), Anand won game nine with a powerful exchange sacrifice, but then lost four of the next five. He lost the match 10.5 - 7.5.
After several near misses, Anand won the FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 for the first time after defeating Alexei Shirov 3.5 - 0.5 in the final match held at Tehran, thereby becoming the first Indian to win that title. He lost the title when Ruslan Ponomariov won the FIDE knockout tournament in 2002.
In September 2007 Anand became World Champion again by winning that year's FIDE World Championship Tournament held in Mexico City. He won the double round-robin tournament with a final score of 9 out of 14 points, a full point ahead of joint second place finishers Vladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand.
In 2000, when Anand won the FIDE World Championship, there was also the rival "Classical" World Championship, held by Kramnik. By 2007, the world championship had been reunified, so Anand's victory in Mexico City made him undisputed World Chess Champion. He became the first undisputed champion to win the title in a tournament, rather than in matchplay, since Mikhail Botvinnik in 1948.
Anand is scheduled to defend the title against Kramnik in a match in 2008. In October 2007, Anand said he liked the double round robin championship format, and that the right of Kramnik to automatically challenge for the title was "ridiculous".
In October 2003, the governing body of chess, FIDE, organized a rapid time control tournament in Cap d'Agde and billed it as the World Rapid Chess Championship. Each player had 25 minutes at the start of the game, with an additional 10 seconds after each move. Anand won this event ahead of ten of the other top twelve players in the world, beating Kramnik in the final. His main recent titles in this category are at: Corsica (six years in a row from 1999 through 2005), Chess Classic (nine years in a row from 2000 through 2008), Leon 2005, Eurotel 2002, Fujitsu Giants 2002 and the Melody Amber (five times – and he won the rapid portion of Melody Amber seven times). In the Melody Amber 2007, Anand did not lose a single game in the rapid section, and scored 8.5/11, two more than the runners-up. His performance in the rapid section was 2939. In most tournament time control games that Anand plays, he has more time left than his opponent at the end of the game. He lost on time in one game, to Gata Kamsky. Otherwise, he took advantage of the rule allowing players in time trouble to use dashes instead of the move notation during the last four minutes only once, in the game Anand - Svidler at the MTel Masters 2006.
Anand won three consecutive Advanced Chess tournaments in Leon, Spain after Garry Kasparov introduced this form of chess in 1998, and is widely recognized as the world's best Advanced Chess player, where humans may consult a computer to aid in their calculation of variations.
Anand has won the Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, and 2007. The Chess Oscar is awarded to the year's best player according to a world-wide poll of leading chess critics, writers, and journalists conducted by the Russian chess magazine 64.
His game collection, My Best Games of Chess, was published in the year 1998 and was updated in 2001.
Anand's recent tournament successes include the Corus chess tournament in 2006 (tied with Veselin Topalov), Dortmund in 2004, and Linares in 2007 and 2008. He has won the annually held Monaco Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Championships in years 1994, 1997, 2003, 2005 and 2006. He is the only player to have won five titles of the Corus chess tournament. He is also the only player to win the blind and rapid sections of the Amber tournament in the same year (and he did this twice – in 1997 and 2005). He is the first player to have achieved victories in each of the three big chess supertournaments: Corus (1998, 2003, 2004, 2006), Linares (1998, 2007, 2008), Dortmund (1996, 2000, 2004).
In 2007 he won the Grenkeleasing Rapid championship, which he won for the tenth time defeating Armenian GM Levon Aronian. Incidentally, just a few days before Aronian had defeated Anand in the Chess960 final.
In March 2007, Anand won the Linares chess tournament and it was widely believed that he would be ranked world No.1 in the FIDE Elo rating list for April 2007. However, Anand was placed No.2 in the initial list released because the Linares result was not included. FIDE subsequently announced that the Linares results would be included after all, making Anand number one in the April 2007 list.
Anand won the Mainz 2008 Supertournament Championship by defeating upcoming star Magnus Carlsen, earning his eleventh title in that event.
In the April 2007 FIDE Elo rating list, Anand was ranked first in the world for the first time, and he held the number one spot in all ratings lists but one since then until July 2008, the exception being the January 2008 list, where he was rated #2 behind Vladimir Kramnik (equal rating, but Kramnik held the #1 spot due to more games played). He dropped to #5 in the October 2008 list, the first time he had been outside the top 3 since July 1996.
Anand has received many awards.
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Ng3 c5 15. d5 c4 16. Bg5 Qc7 17. Nf5 Kh8 18. g4 Ng8 19. Qd2 Nc5 20. Be3 Bc8 21. Ng3 Rb8 22. Kg2 a5 23. a3 Ne7 24. Rh1 Ng6 25. g5! b4!? Anand has an excellent kingside attack, so Bologan seeks counterplay with the sacrifice of a pawn. 26. axb4 axb4 27. cxb4 Na6 28. Ra4 Nf4+ 29. Bxf4 exf4 30. Nh5 Qb6 31. Qxf4 Nxb4 32. Bb1 Rb7 33. Ra3 Rc7 34. Rd1 Na6 35. Nd4 Qxb2 36. Rg3 c3 (see diagram) 37. Nf6!! Re5 If 37...gxf6, 38. gxf6 h6 39. Rg1! Qd2! 40. Qh4 leaves white with an irresistible initiative. 38. g6! fxg6 39. Nd7 Be7 40. Nxe5 dxe5 41. Qf7 h6 42. Qe8+ 1-0