Anand surprises himself with World Rapid title triumph

Dec 31, 2017, 01:18
Anand surprises himself with World Rapid title triumph

Viswanathan Anand said that when he started his campaign at the World Rapid Chess Championship, he felt something he hadn't in a long time.

Viswanathan Anand, "The Tiger from Madras" India, victorious as the Inaugural 2017 King Salman World Open and Women's Rapid Chess Championships reach halfway point.

This title assumes significance for Anand on a couple of counts. But first he stunned the World Champion and then he stunned the world. 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. Last two years, he won the rapid events in such tremendous margin that he is a dominant player now in rapid chess.

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"I came into this tournament after a very hard year, especially the London (Chess Classic) tournament was a big disappointment". It is not that I had high expectations in London but I still hoped to do well. Finishing in last place in London (London Classic) was a heavy blow.

One thing is certain; chess fans all around the world will have their eyes firmly on the next phase of the tournament. My last two rapid tournaments have been nothing short of disasters. "I came here in a pessimistic frame of mind".

But that's when time stood still. Ju modestly repeated her statement from the first day of the Championship, stating that "she was lucky". "However, on the very first day of this tournament, I could feel that I was playing well", said Anand.

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From thereon, Anand didn't look back. At the end of the fifteen rounds, Anand remained unbeaten in the competition with six wins and nine draws.

A victory against old nemesis Magnus Carlsen of Norway seems to have spurred on Viswanathan Anand as he went on to regain the World Rapid Chess Championship in Riyadh on Thursday.

He first beat arch-rival Magnus Carlsen in the ninth round and then hammered Russia's Vladimir Fedoseev in the final in a tie breaker. To add to that, Anand wasn't in the best frame of mind before entering this tournament. "When I did that, I knew I would have a good finish no matter what", Anand said.

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A win against Peter Leko in the second round provided Anand the impetus he was looking for.

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