A win against old rival Magnus Carlsen of Norway seemed to have spurred Viswanathan Anand on as he went on to regain the World Rapid Chess Championship title in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday. In the final, Anand beat Russia’s Vladimir Fedoseev to reclaim the title he had won in 2003.
Anand, took revenge for his 2013 World Championship loss as he defeated World No 1 Magnus Carlsen in the ninth round match on Wednesday, was placed joint second at the start of the final five rounds (11 to 15) on Thursday. But he moved strongly when it mattered to bag the title on tie-break after a three-way tie with Russians Vladimir Fedoseev and Ian Nepomniachtchi at 10.5 points each from a possible 15. Anand then defeated Fedoseev 2-0 in a two-game tie-break to lift the title.
On Thursday, Anand played out a couple of draws before defeating Russia’s Alexander Grischuk in the 14th and penultimate round of the tournament with white pieces. Leader Carlsen was held to a draw by Vladislav Artemiev of Russia which allowed Anand to join the the Norwegian at the top. In the final round, Anand drew with China’s Bu Xiangzhi while Carlsen suffered a shock defeat to Grishchuk.
At the end of the fifteen rounds, Anand remained unbeaten in the competition with six wins and nine draws. The former World No 1, who had lost his overcall crown to Carlsen in 2013, reclaimed the World Rapid Chess Championship title he had won in 2003 beating Vladikir Kramnik in the final. Anand, who had an indifferent season so far thus finished on an overwhelming note. It reflected in his tweet following the win where he wrote, “Thanks all!! Feeling is like floating. My head keeps playing the song… we are the champions! The words ring so true. More on this moment after the blitz!”.
Other Indians in the competition were P Harikrishna (finished in 16th place), Surya Shekhar Ganguly (60th), Santosh Gujrathi Vidit (61st), B Vadibhan (65th), SP Sethuraman (96th).
His rise as champion once again earned him plenty of plaudits including from former rival Garry Kasparov and President of India’s Office.
Congratulations @vishy64theking! You’ve proven your mettle time and again. Your tenacity inspires us. India is proud of your exemplary success at the World Rapid Chess Championship!
And here is his crowning moment, when he won the title in a tiebreak.