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Mind Master: Winning Lessons from a Champion's Life

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  541 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Few people know better than Viswanathan Anand how to think strategically at lightning speed and work under immense pressure to overcome the toughest odds.

From the time he learnt to move pieces on a chessboard as a six-year-old, Vishy – as Anand is fondly called – has racked up innumerable accolades.

The first World Chess Champion from Asia, he emerged on to the world stage
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published December 11th 2019 by Hachette India
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Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Vishwanathan Anand’s professional chess career, but it is also a lot more – a tribute to his entire support system, family and passion which goes into the making of a world champion, and has lessons for life itself. For Indians, Anand is a national icon – a champion (the first chess grandmaster from India) who represents the country where the game originated with great grace & passion. Often being a nice guy is not exactly good news, the media would much rather write about “te ...more
Siddharth Saravanan
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Astounding read! Loved every single moment in my journey through this book. I have a feeling I'll be returning to this book many more times in the future.

A disclaimer,
-For the people looking for a technical book with tactics and strategies pertaining to Chess, this book does not address that.
-For the people looking for a comprehensive autobiography, this book doesn't address that either.

This book is primarily a compendium of lessons and learnings that the author has accumulated in his storied
William Moses Jr.
Let me clear up a few things up front.
1. I'm very interested in playing chess and learning more about the sport.
2. I want to know what the point of playing chess is when computers can beat us 9 times out of 10.
3. I know how I think when I play chess (I'm not that great). I want to know what goes through the mind of a top player when he thinks over a position.
4. I'm interested in Vishy Anand and want to know his story since he's the first GM from India and rose up despite a lack of a strong India
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book grew on me after a while. The first chapter was describing how Anand persevered in the face of adversity but it seemed to me that he was just eloquently complaining about all the times people treated him wrongly.
But with the following chapters, I got used to Anands way of writing and actually quite enjoyed this look into the world of professional chess and Anands interesting life story.

My own interest in chess flares up every then and now. I spend maybe a couple of weeks playing it a l
Abhishek .
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thebookchallenge
I remember the time when I was searching for a book in Calicut's HiLite Mall. Suddenly, I came across a very clean yet impactful cover. The Mind Master it read. Vishy Anand has been a known Indian jewel for long now. Yet, there was very little that I knew about his journey. Also, it reminded me of the time when I used to play chess with my father.

As I read, the book made me realize how often we leave things in between and do not put in much effort to even understand whether we can excel in that
Peter Nielsen
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very honest memoirs, giving great insights into the mind of one the games greatest champions.
Not holding back, not caring about revealing information, its gives the real picture of the emotions going through youm when figthing at the absolute top. Both when everything went well, or when you feel helpless.
Great read!
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Chess floors me. Bullet chess, 10 board blindfolded simuls, and the one game I played with a chess-loving friend which ended with him saying, “Checkmate in 5.”

I’ve always thought of Chess GMs as superhuman. So the great surprises of this book were (1) its accessibility and (2) its sheer humanity.

(1) Anand breaks down the mental process of top level players writing: “Essentially what chess players have isn’t an inexplicably photographic memory, but contextual memory. What most of us do is conve
Devika Das
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you like sports or have engaged in any sporting activity yourself, you will relate to the grit, determination, discipline, and perseverance that the Grandmaster has practiced all his life. This book is inspirational and many lessons to be learned from this wonderful person's life. Even if you can imbibe a few of them, your life will become better.

Several paragraphs attracted my interest. I shall not mention it here as then the review will be a spoiler :)


I liked the flow of the c
Rohan Sangodkar
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Unlearning is perhaps the hardest thing to do, but it is a necessity if growth and success are your goals."

According to me, Vishwanathan "Vishy" Anand is the most underrated and undercelebrated sportsman in India. What this man has achieved is impossible to gauge for a commoner like me. This book is very testament to the fact where we get to glimpse into the life of Vishy Anand.

My knowledge of Chess as a competitive sport increased immensely after this read, at the same time my already present
Prateek Singh
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
The autobiography takes you through the journey of Vishwanathan Anand from being a child prodigy to becoming the first Chess Grandmaster from India and later going on to become World Champion not just once but five times. The book provides insight into Anand's thinking, how he dealt with various ups and downs in his life, and how things work in the world of Chess.
Reaching the very apex of any sport is an extremely difficult feat to achieve and doing that coming from India where he had no preced
Kraka Laka
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first ever autobiography type of book that I loved so much! It's very interesting to read about the preparation which are carried out before big championship games, how pressurising they are for such a champion, all the anxiety, rivalry , focus, nervousness and the joy at the end! Wow...
Anand takes us to the journey of ups and downs of chess voyage! Some of the lessons are very basics but brilliantly highlighted! It's a lovely read for all the Chess lovers.
Dedicate this read to you Jiaan. Th
Satya Balakrishnan
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
An engaging read! I didnt know much about chess, but was always in admiration of Vishy Anand for what he has achieved ... I enjoyed reading this book!
Nihar Panigrahi
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One does not need to know how to play chess to derive value from this book. Although it would make the read more interesting. The book gives a good window into the mind of one of the most under-discussed legendary Indian sportspersons. And Anand adds a good amount of humour as well, to keep the reader entertained the whole while.
Sunil Shinde
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library
Viswanath Anand writes his biography Mind Master with a heart even larger than his brain. Especially chapter 11, which gives a glimpse of the everyday battles of an aging champion.

With disarming honestly, Vishy Anand brings to his readers and his fans his crumbling state of mind, aghast at his fast deteriorating chess skills, as he defends his World Champion title twice. In 2012 in Moscow against Gelfand - himself an old-fashioned chess champion, Vishy succeeds narrowly only to meet the young a
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
The book was an interesting read as someone with chess interest and having grown up in India in Anand's prime years. However, the book tries to talk about his journey as a chess champion, spew life advice and present details of opening and chess moves all in one. Consequently, it fails to do any one of them well. I felt like everything was done at a surface level as a result. This could have been better written.

That said, I did really like reading about the impact that computers have had on the
Anurag Mishra
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the best sports or a biopic i have read. Things that make this book unique are
1. The author has not shied away from talking about his flaws and mistakes.
2. The true acceptance of the fact that he was no where close carlsen in 2013 wc.
3 . Has not made any excuses for his mistakes or failures and has always credited his success to all his team members with apt description of there roles and praised there efforts.
4. Has valued learning, knowledge and updating skills from time to time
5. Th
Varun Upadhyay
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great account of a fabulous chess career. Vishy is someone whom I aspire to be in terms of character and personality. "A storm running inside but a calm and composed portrayal from outside" ...more
Aryan Sarath
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When Viswanathan Anand played for the World Championship title in 2013 in Hyatt Regency, Chennai, I badly wanted to see the match not because it featured the then World Champion Magnus Carlsen but to meet my childhood inspiration and idol Vishy(as he is fondly called by his fans). I did not get the ticket/pass but little did I knew by then that I would get to meet this legend on 4 different occasions including the book signing session of his autobiography.

I picked this book out of sheer interest
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't know where to begin. Maybe with the title itself? Mind Master, titled unimaginatively you may think, illustrates in beautiful and relatable text that it takes mastery over one's own mind to conquer repeatedly. How outcomes affect your mental state and vice versa, how this man took a grip again and again after the blows between wins, the lessons he learnt and the invaluable advice that stems from his own life's learnings are some of the things that make this book a delectable read. It is ...more
Venkateswarlu T
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best sports autobiography I had read..

The book had everything u wanted to know about the legendary champion and had nth thats worth skipping.. a page turner despite the knowledge of most of the outcomes..

Most of all.. his thought processes through all those nerve cracking moments are extremely invaluable.
Harish Vaidyanathan
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Firstly, I've always been fascinated with the rise of Vishy, even though am not an ardent chess fan unlike some of my friends. But Vishy pretty much single-handedly authored the rise of Indian chess on the global stage.

While I'd have liked the book to be more technical, it was a fun read. I guess the writer ended up combining biography with a "here's what it means for your business" which was utterly unnecessary IMO.

Just because business books sell more doesnt mean that India's greatest chess
Afref Fetter Fetter
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5/5. Great book. Nice & short. Contains some useful anecdotes about life (pasted below):

"It always makes sense to keep working at goals without obsessing over how far you're from it or how hopelessly you're missing the mark each time. If you persevere, it will eventually be yours."

"The mind only recovers emotionally when it can replace an old memory with a new, more pleasant one."

"The path to a happy, unplanned discovery starts with learning. It doesn’t matter if what you’re learning now isn’t
S G Akshaykumar
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
I am pretty sure I heard his name when I was preparing for quiz competitions in school. I knew that he was the current World Champion in chess, this was way back in two thousand and seven. I knew that he was the only Indian to have achieved this feat. I also knew that he was the first Indian to be a Grandmaster. Those were the only three facts I knew about Vishy Anand for a long time. At some point, I also got to know that he had defeated Vladimir Kramnik. All these names didn’t mean a thing. I ...more
I loved this book so much. There are so many life lessons packed in and it makes for such a smooth reading experience.

Narrative Structure The narrative structure of this book is so fresh ! I was expecting a chronological presentation of his life, from his childhood all the way to his world championships. Instead, each chapter has a theme. Some of these themes are concrete events like a World Championship Match, and some of these themes are his thoughts on memory, computer preparat
Arvind Radhakrishnan
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of the most searingly honest memoirs I have read. Vishy Anand,a five time world champion,is a living legend in the chess universe.A naturally gifted genius who single handedly put India on the world chess map with his trailblazing achievements.He has earned so many accolades that he could keep gloating about them till eternity and no one would mind it. Yet this is not what he chooses to do in this book.We see a very vulnerable Vishy who battles insecurities and fears before facing to ...more
Raunak Milton
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a simple curiosity buy at an airport store, with me thinking I was lucky to get an author's signed copy. As I slowly went through the journey of Vishy Anand's chess career, it talked about so many different aspects of the game. The book makes the reader realise that as a professional sport it's so much more than just a mere thinktank game. Having an on and off acquaintance with chess right from childhood, it prompted a revival of the interest which got me to start playing the game ...more
Abhishek Dafria
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Writing your own story is a tricky business because of the obvious bias. But that bias, if handled well, can make a memoir a joy to read for who else can take the reader through the set of emotions the author felt during his zenith and nadir! Viswanathan Anand is one of the last sportsmen you would expect to have faced emotional upheavals in his life and career for he carries such a calm exterior. But Mind Master is his way of bringing out that he too is human.

This is a terrific book whether yo
Arnab Roy
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Its not perfect like everything else in life, but since the option to rate 4.5 isn't there, I would round it up to 5. A book that not only gives you insight on the mind of quintessential superstar who doesnt hog the limelight like other Sportspersons, but also gives you life lessons that you could apply to any field in life. Its incredible just to comprehend for a layman person like me that a games of chess has nothing to do with just looking ahead 5-10 or even more moves ahead. Its about meticu ...more
Sandeep Barua
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s at this point that I discovered that ‘talent’ is a word people use to describe you when they want to express good-hearted empathy. It merely reflects that you’re not yet a threat to their dominance or their prize fund flow. It’s when they trash-talk you – like they did after my surprise coup in Italy – that you know you’re respected, maybe even feared.

Being an chess enthusiast, I couldn't rest till I finished this book cover to cover. Being an ardent fan of Vishy Anand, it allowed me a cl
Suraj Bhor
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is very well written. After every chapter, Anand shows his best game along with some wisdom which he has gained during a particular experience in his life.
Here's one such Anand's view about hard work and talent.

"The way I see it, talent is a lot like a plant. When it's watered with hard work, it grows and blooms. Deprived of nourishment, the plant simply withers away. With hard work, talent gains in-depth and scope and uncovers newer abilities that were earlier unexplored. And hard wo
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