Viswanathan Anand, Indian chess Grandmaster Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News

Dubai: India’s five-time chess champion Viswanathan Anand is expecting to be back home with wife Aruna and son Akhil, in the near future.

The 50-year-old Anand, who in 2006 became the fourth player in history to pass the 2800 Elo mark on the FIDE rating list — after Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov — is currently near Frankfurt, Germany, where he had gone for a competition earlier this year.

The chess prodigy from Chennai had travelled to Germany to participate in the Bundesliga Chess, and before he could return to India, travel restrictions were put in place following the coronavirus pandemic.

The Indian embassy in Germany, however, is in constant touch with Anand, and his wife and son are both expecting him to return perhaps by the end of the month in one of the repatriation flights.

At the same time, wife Aruna is aware that the Indian Government may first bring back people with greater needs.

“We are hoping he returns soon. He is doing fine. It is an organised operation. The (Indian) embassy is in touch. There has to be flights first and there are many people with greater needs that need to be brought back first,” Aruna Anand was quoted by PTI.

Anand is a five-time world chess champion. He defeated Alexei Shirov in a six-game match to win the 2000 FIDE World Chess Championship, a title he held until 2002.

The Indian youngster later became the undisputed World Champion in 2007, and successfully defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010, and Boris Gelfand in 2012.

However, he lost the title to challenger Magnus Carlsen in 2013, and then again lost a rematch to Carlsen in 2014 after winning the 2014 Candidates Tournament. He occupied the number one position for 21 months, the sixth longest on record till date.

And even though he keeps in touch via video calls and other social platforms, missing his father is Akhil, who turned 11 on April 9. “Not having his dad around for the time being can’t be compensated ... He is doing a lot of stuff, but we have to be aware that the child is also going through a lot,” Aruna related.

India has recently begun rescue operations for its stranded citizens in different parts of the world. Other rescue missions have also been planned, but in a phased manner during the course of this week.