Indian chess legend Viswanathan Anand claimed his first rapid world title since 2003 on Thursday in Riyadh to finish 2017 on a high. The 48-year-old beat Vladimir Fedoseev in the play-off to lift the World Rapid Chess Championship title in Riyadh in an unbeaten campaign.

However, he admitted that while he was unbelievably happy after his unexpected win, the win came as a surprise to him as well, at a tournament he wasn’t even sure he would play at.

“I have won many, many rapid titles but recently I had a feeling it was slipping away and honestly I came here just hoping for a good performance. I was not even thinking I could win and it’s just a pleasant surprise,” he said in a video interview after his win.

The 48-year-old, who had been at the receiving end of criticism after a string of sub-par performances in the recent past, and himself felt that he might be on a downward spiral. But his performance in Riyadh has come at the right time.

Watch the full interview here


The Indian had, a day earlier, stunned world champion Magnus Carlsen in the ninth round, topping the standings with 10.5 points after 15 rounds. But he believed the game against Alexander Grischuk was the turning point.

“Yesterday’s win against Carlsen was a big step after that the game against Grischuk was crucial which meant I could be on top,” he added.

Anand now is optimistic ahead of his next tournament, the World Blitz Championship. “I hope to do my best at the Blitz and like the rapid, something nice can happen,” he signed off.