Few Indian sportspersons deserve the world champion title and the numero uno tag more than Vishwanathan Anand. In a year that saw cricket demigods swing from the disappointing (the World Cup in West Indies) to the inspirational (World Twenty20), the 38-year-old chess wizard was consistently brilliant. He won a double honour - the world championship crown and the number one ranking.
Not that Anand had not won the championship before, but, unlike in 2000 when there was a rival championship held, there was no dispute about his ownership of the title this time.
The number one ranking must have given Anand even greater joy, simply because he had not achieved it before.
Fide, the world governing body of chess, initially refused to anoint him No 1 citing a technicality, when it updated its rankings in April. But it had to bow to pressure from fans across the world. It proved the goodwill the genial Indian has in the fraternity.
Anand scaled the summit in Mexico this year and dominated other tournaments. He won the Morelia-Linares event in March, which pushed his rating to above 2800 Elo points and gave him the number one ranking.
Anand, however, lost his grip over the Amber Blindfold and Rapid chess event, usually his stronghold, and had setbacks at Wijk Aan Zee and Dortmund. Apart from that, his form did not dip.