On November 9, 2013 the world is going to stop. Billions of people around the globe will be watching live as two titans clash in what may be the greatest chess match ever played. Viswanathan Anand, the Pride of India, will be taking on the charismatic “Mozart of Chess,” Magnus Carlsen. By the end of November, the player who utterly destroys his opponent will be crowned “The King of Chess.”
Viswanathan Anand is more than a World Chess Champion. He is the greatest sportsmen ever produced from the second most populous country in the world. “Vishy,” as his friends call him, became India’s first grandmaster in 1988. Anand was also first to receive the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1992. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honor. Viswanathan Anand has also won the coveted Chess Oscar a total of six times! Indeed, historians tell us that chess has its roots in ancient India, but it was not until Viswanathan Anand became World Champion that chess took a hold of the sub-continent’s imagination.
Many consider Magnus Carlsen to be for chess, what Mozart was for music. In the long and distinguished history of chess prodigies, Magnus may be the greatest of them all. Magnus Carlsen, who started chess at the age of five, became a chess Grand Master at thirteen and the number one rated player in the world before the age of twenty. A short while later, Carlsen established the highest rating ever in the game of chess and in doing so surpassed his former teacher, Garry Kasparov. Often mentioned in the same class as Paul Morphy, Jose Raul Capablanca and Bobby Fischer, Magnus is missing only the title of World Champion to establish his residency on Mount Olympus.
Throughout human history, there have been certain events which demonstrate the greatness of human achievement. The Hammurabi Code of 1750 B.C., the dawn of Democracy in 594 B.C., The Wright Brothers taking flight in 1903 are important events on the timeline comparable to what, I believe, will result from the FIDE World Chess Championship of 2013. Chess is about to become “cool” again and our world may never be the same.
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