3. Viswanathan Anand (Chess)
Viswanathan Anand is an Indian Chess Grandmaster and a five-time World Chess champion. Anand was the first recipient of India’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Khel Ratna Award in 1992. In 2007, Vishy was awarded with India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award.
Affectionately nicknamed ‘Vishy’, he held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002. Later, he became the undisputed World Champion in 2007, and defended his titles against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veslin Topalov in 2010, Boris Gelfand in 2012, before finally losing to challenger Magnum Carlsen in 2013 & again in 2014.
In April of 2006, Anand became the fourth player in history to pass the 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE rating list. He occupied the number one position for 21 months, the 6th longest on record.
Anand is one of the most liked and admired figures throughout the chess world for over two decades. He is very humble as stated by other Chess legends like Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and many more.
“For me, chess is not a profession, it is a way of life, a passion. People may feel that I have conquered the peak and will not have to struggle. Financially, perhaps that is true; but as far as chess goes, I’m still learning a lot!” -Viswanathan Anand