Mauricio Perea:

In 1991, we heard of a young Indian lad from India called Vishy Anand. Viswanathan was a roller coaster on the tongue and the name Vishy, or Bishy in Spanish, stuck. We heard of this boy, from a country that didn’t have much of a chess culture then, take on the great Soviet chess system. What made everyone sit up and notice was that this typical teenager played chess at a pace that was till then not imaginable. He had no coach, no trainer and in many ways was a maverick. He had just won the prestigious Reggio Emilia (The strongest chess event till that time) ahead of Karpov and Kasparov, even defeating the latter in his quest. Having met all the great chess players and many of the World Champions, this Indian boy intrigued me.

When I first met Vishy, he was dressed in baggy jeans, big white sports shoes, a walkman to his ears on which he listened to what he called the Cranberries and Pet shop boys. For an ear trained in Brahms and Beethoven, the sound of this music just seemed like Boom Boom Boom! He would always, and still does, stuff his hands in his trousers and walk quickly chuk chuk chuk back and forth in Linares. We marvelled at the fact that someone who looked like a teenager could be such a fantastic player.

He played Alexander Beliavsky and the boy took 16 minutes. He never sat on the board. When the clock was pressed and it was his turn, he would immediately make his move and start wandering. “Today,” I tell him, “Vishy, you are a mature man, you actually think before you play” …. He says, “Yes Maurice, age you see.”

During that game, we were shocked. We had never seen anyone play so fast and so correctly. So after the game, Nieves and myself met him at dinner and I told him, “Joven [young man], tomorrow you play Karpov, you can’t play in this swashbuckling style, you have to play slowly, not in 16 minutes.” He said, “Sure Mr. Maurice”, and added, “OK I will play slowly. How about 17 minutes?” In that moment I knew I had found a special person on whom I was going to keep an eye. Nieves said, “Beat Karpov for me.” And Vishy said, “Sure. If I do, I will take you to the best Chinese restaurant in town.” Vishy won and came out running to Nieves. He said, “It’s a date. Let’s go.”

via Forbes India.