Viswanathan Anand wins World Rapid Chess Championship

Geneva Matthews
December 30, 2017

Anand, a five-time world champion, said it felt special to be the world champion again. It was as if the time stood still. But Anand fought back to regain the top spot within a year.

Viswanathan Anand was in joint second position after the 12th round of the World rapid chess championship here on Thursday.

This title assumes significance for Anand on a couple of counts.

One thing is certain; chess fans all around the world will have their eyes firmly on the next phase of the tournament. Second, it puts to bed all the increasingly frequent questions about him carving a full stop to, what critics have now been calling, his fading professional career.

"I came into this tournament after a very hard year, especially the London (Chess Classic) tournament was a big disappointment". To finish last was a heavy blow.

"The last two rapid events were nothing short of disastrous". "I came here in nearly pessimistic frame of mind". "A double would be very tempting, but Magnus, what can I say, he's a colossus. It was so unexpected, I mean I won many world rapid titles but recently I had the feeling it was slipping away", said a beaming Anand after the final day of the rapid tournament.

There are 15 more rounds to go in the event.

The biggest of them, though, came against world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen, his recent nemesis. "I felt that I had lost the plot a little bit (after three draws). He seemed to be in great form, as always", Anand added. Initially, we had the same hallucination that this was a draw offer. Since I had a guaranteed draw, I made a decision to spend a few minutes to just check and look for something else. He has this fantastic ability to win games on demand and I must admit, he was the favourite. He also gave everyone a glimpse into what was going on inside the brilliant mind that won the tournament - "We are the champions"!

However, despite performing exceedingly well, he couldn't pop the champagne bottle just yet. Because he had come back after a defeat against Bu Xiangzhi.

The "Madras Tiger" as he is fondly known defeated Russian Vladimir Fedoseev in a two-game tie-breaker to clinch the trophy. I then calculated the line which actually happened in the game.

Anand beat Fedoseev 2-0 in the two-game tie-break to ensure that his awe-inspiring show reaches its logical conclusion. But it has been the most wonderful surprise. It is just so unexpected, after all the disappointments in rapid chess. There are those unexpected feelings and the most fantastic feeling of all was to have the title of World Champion again. "I am so happy that I can not describe it in words", Anand said. Carlsen, who had earned the victory against the Indian GM in the World Chess Championship in 2013, could not match up to Anand's moves. With 4.5 points in his kitty, Harikrishna shares the ninth spot now.

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