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The Year That Was: 2007
Rediff looks back at the highs and lows, the successes and failures, the heros and villains, the wild and the overblown that made this year.

India's top sportspersons, 2007

December 27, 2007

Ruling the chessboard

The lightning kid. That's how Viswanathan Anand was referred to after his spectacular success as a junior.

Though the Indian ace made rapid strides on the 64 squares board, to be rated among the world's best, he only achieved the position of numero uno this April.

In more ways than one, 2007 was a landmark year for Anand.

Have you checked out our Year-end Specials?

Triumph at the Linares-Morelia tournament in March ensured him the top spot in the Elo ratings -- only the sixth player to be ranked No 1 since the birth of the rankings in 1970.

Then followed the ultimate honour. In September, he won the FIDE World Championship in Mexico and became the undisputed world champion.

A 20-move draw against Hungary's Peter Leko in the 14th and final round gave the 37-year-old from Chennai the crown. Battling with seven of the world's top chess players, Anand won four of his 14 games and drew 10 to emerge the only unbeaten player in the competition.

Anand's place in chess history is assured. As far as his significance among his countrymen is concerned, it would suffice to say that in the last 20 years -- since 1987, when he became India's first Grandmaster -- 16 Indian men have attained Grandmaster status, but when it comes to winning major tournaments, chess aficionados still look up to the charming genius from Chennai.

Viswanathan Anand is truly a class apart.

Text: Ivan Crasto, Deepti Patwardhan, Bikash Mohapatra. Photograph: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: Exclusive! Anand speaks after he became World No 1
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