Viswanathan Anand wins World Rapid Chess Championship

Viswanathan Anand wins World Rapid Chess Championship”

"It was as though time had stood still". I was back in time a few years when I was dominating rapid chess tournaments.

Vishwanathan Anand showed that there is still plenty of fire in his belly by winning the title at the World Rapid Chess Championships at Riyadh, late Thursday night. In 1987, the boy from Chennai won the World Junior Chess Championship becoming the first Indian to do so. 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. "To finish last was a heavy blow", Anand said.

One thing is certain; chess fans all around the world will have their eyes firmly on the next phase of the tournament.

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Anand had not won the World Rapid Championship since 2003 and had a couple of disastrous World Championships before this year. I came with a pessimistic frame of mind but it has just been the most wonderful surprise. On the first day itself I could feel that I was playing well. "A double would be very tempting, but Magnus, what can I say, he's a colossus". He remained unbeaten in fifteen rounds, with six wins and nine draws. The Indian Grandmaster said that the victory against World No.1 Magnus Carlsen was instrumental in winning the championship.

The President of India has called Anand an inspiration for all Indians and maybe it's a sign that the day Anand will be conferred with the Bharat Ratna is not far. However, the win against Magnus Carlsen with black pieces in round 9 gave him a lot of confidence. To add to that, Anand wasn't in the best frame of mind before entering this tournament. "At that moment, I must admit I felt that he was favourite for the final few rounds", Anand said. I beat Leko (Peter) in a very nice game. Initially, we both had this same hallucination that this was a draw offer. "Since I had a guaranteed draw, I chose to spend a few minutes just looking for something else and after two minutes it suddenly hit me that I was winning and when I looked at his face I realized that it hit him as well", he says. "When I looked at his face, I realised it had hit him as well because as soon as I made the move he thought for a few seconds and resigned", said Anand.

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