The former World Chess Champion became India's first Grandmaster in 1988. He held the FIDE World Chess Championship title from 2000 to 2002 and became the undisputed World Chess Champion in 2007. He defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010 and Boris Gelfand in 2012 before finally losing the title to Magnus Carlsen in their World Chess Championship match in 2013. He won the Candidates Tournament the following year thus earning the right the challenge Carlsen. He is also a two-time World Rapid Champion. In 2006, he became the fourth player in history to cross 2800. He has been ranked No. 1 in the world for 21 months. In 2018, he also won the Tata Steel Chess India Blitz Championship.
Anand is considered a hero in India and was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India's highest sporting honour. In 2007, he became the first sportsman to receive the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award.