Chess

Viswanathan Anand is the new World Rapid Chess Champion

Beats Vladimir Fedoseev in the play-off to lift the title in Riyadh

Viswanathan Anand was crowned the World Rapid Chess Champion in Riyadh on Thursday after the 48-year-old defeated Russian Grandmaster Vladimir Fedoseev 2-0 in the tie-break play-off.

Anand, who had defeated world champion Magnus Carlsen in the ninth round, topped the standings with 10.5 points after 15 rounds along with Fedoseev and Ian Nepomniachtchi.

While the Indian GM was ahead on tie-break score, the rules of the tournament meant that in case of a tie on points, the top to players with best tie-break scores would have to play a two game match to decide the winner.

And the 48-year-old showed that he can still conjure some magic to defeat an opponent who is 26 years younger in both games to lift the coveted title.

“It is absolutely an unbelievable feeling after all the disappointments in the year. It was unexpected because I was not even planning coming to the tournament as it was announced very late. There are those unexpected feelings and the most amazing feeling of all was to have the title of World Champion again. To be the Rapid world champion is something I cannot describe in words,” Anand told Mumbai Mirror after winning the title.

Anand had come into the tournament after a difficult year where he failed to qualify for the Candidates tournament to decide the challenger for the World Championship match against Carlsen and then finished last in the London Chess Classic.

China’s Ju Wenjun won the women’s title while D Harika was the best Indian in the women’s section finishing 19th. Among other men, P Harikrishna finished 16th while Surya Shekhar Ganguly was 60th.

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