Wherever they play, Anand is the first Indian to compete at such an exalted level since the mysterious Sultan Khan in the 1930s. Sultan - a first name not a title - was a Punjabi peasant who came to England in 1929 as part of the retinue of an Indian nobleman who was equerry to George V.
He won the British championship, played on first board for the British Empire in world team championships, and beat most of the world's best players. Then, five years after his arrival in the west, he went back to India with his master and was scarcely heard of again until his death in 1966.
Though his openings showed little finesse, Sultan Khan's endgame play was a model of perfection. Here's a position from a 1929 game as Black against William Winter.
Material is level, but Black's pawn on e2 looks a powerful asset. 1...Rce8 looks natural, but Sultan Khan realised that Black nowhere to go after 2.Re1.
Instead he decided the game brilliantly with 1...Rec6! 2.Kxe2 Rc2+ 3.Kf3 (3.Kf1 Rf8+ 4.Ke1 Rc1+ loses the rook on g1.) 3...Re8!! with the startling threat of Re3+ followed by Rf2 mate. Winter tried 4.Kf4 Re3 5.Rf1, but resigned after 5...Rg2! when he was defenceless against the threat of Rg4 mate.
To complete the analysis, it is only necessary to look at what happens if White declines the pawn after 1...Rec6. For example, 2.Rb1 Rc2+ 3.Ke1 Rf8, or 2.Re7 Rc2+ 3.Ke1 Rc1+ 4.Kf2 Rf8+ 5.Kg2 Rxg1+ 6.Kxg1 Rf1+ and Black wins in all lines.Reuse content