International Women’s Day: An interview with Aruna Anand

The name of Aruna Anand is taken in chess circles with a sense of admiration. Having been Vishy Anand’s manager, support-system and a guiding light, apart from being his life-partner of course, Aruna has had a lion’s share in the sparkling career of the Madras Tiger. By playing multiple roles and taking charge of different aspects of her and Anand’s life, she facilitated the creation of the right environment for Anand by allowing to him focus majorly on his chess – something that is absolutely essential for a top-level chess player.

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, we caught up with Aruna for a quick chat. Read on to know more about the superwoman of Indian chess!

File photo of Aruna Anand and Viswanathan Anand | REUTERS.

You have been a major pillar of strength behind one of the world’s greatest chess players of all time – how will you describe your journey? What sacrifices did it entail?

I think it has been a lovely roller-coaster experience that we will always cherish. The happy memories are easy to remember. The difficult moments define your relationship more. I think Anand had to more of the hard work… However, we think of it as an equal partnership – both sides just put in their best.

What are some of your qualities and/or your experiences that hold you in good stead when managing multiple facets of your life?

Multi-tasking, patience (Anand may find it hard to agree!), and the ability to just get the job done.

How does Anand’s life revolve around his wife-cum-manager? 🙂

It keeps revolving… We enjoy being parents, being a couple, and being sportsperson-manager. And they are all connected.

Having seen a World Champion up close, can you outline a few qualities that define a world-class sportsperson?

The ability to never give up, to feel responsible for your own failures, and to understand that the family is always by your side.

Who are some women and their qualities that you admire?

There are many. I think women who have achieved a lot of success not only had to deal with big problems but also a lot of day-to-day issues, which sadly are clubbed as women’s duties. We have a lot of great women chess players & it would be nice to see them continue after marriage and strive higher.

What would be your message to girls aspiring to make it big in sports or their chosen field?

I think Anand’s word on this is to enjoy the challenge.


What are your favorite hobbies?

Dancing, painting, and baking

Who is your favorite sportsperson? (Apart from you know who!)

Zidane and Federer

How many languages do you speak and which are they?

Tamil, Hindi, English, and Spanish … German is very much a work-in-progress.

Women author(s) that you would like to recommend

Jhumpa Lahiri and Isabel Allende

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