Viswanathan Anand thrilled with winning the World Champion title again

Updated: Dec 30, 2017, 10:58 IST | PTI

Anand thrilled with his unexpected victory to clinch World Rapid chess title

Viswanathan Anand (left) and Vladimir Fedoseev compete during the  World Rapid Chess Championships in Riyadh yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

Viswanathan Anand (left) and Vladimir Fedoseev compete during the  World Rapid Chess Championships in Riyadh yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

Relieved after claiming his first World Rapid title since 2003, Indian chess ace Viswanathan Anand said he entered the tournament in a "pessimistic" frame of mind but managed to surprise himself and the world with an unbeaten campaign. The 48-year-old, who had been drawing flak from critics for a string of sub-par performances in the recent past, hit back in style, by winning the World Rapid title in Riyadh yesterday. Poor start.

Anand also said that towards the end he got worried that he might not even secure a podium finish but a series of unexpected twists and turns on the final day helped him land the top prize.

"The first three rounds ended in draws. I felt that I had lost the plot a little bit and in fact I was worried that I might not even be on the podium anymore. I mean there were so many unexpected twists and turns. Magnus lost. Nepo (Ian Nepomniachtchi) had won his. A lot happened. But once the tie-break started and I got a big advantage in the tie-break game then I started to feel the wind was behind me," Anand told PTI.

"It is so unexpected because I wasn't even planning to come to this tournament, which was announced late. The most amazing feeling of all is to have the title of World Champion again. I am so happy that I can't describe it in words," he added.

Anand said he wasn't in the right frame of mind. "The last two rapid events were nothing short of disastrous. I came here in a pessimistic frame of mind. But it has just been the most wonderful surprise. But I played well," he said.

The former World Champion remained unbeaten through the tournament and came back strongly to bag the top position on a tie-break after a three-way tie with Russians Vladimir Fedoseev and Ian Nepomniachtchi at 10.5 points from a possible 15. The Chennai ace then defeated Fedoseev 2-0 in a two-game tie-break to win the trophy.

Crucial win over Carlsen
He described the win against Norway's World Champion Magnus Carlsen as the crucial moment in the tournament. "The crucial moment was the win against Magnus Carlsen. Because he had come back after a defeat against Bu Xiangzhi. He seemed to be in great form, as always.

"He has this amazing ability to win games on demand where he is able to pull together these long streak (of wins). So at that moment I must admit, I felt he was favourite for the final few rounds. But, we had a very intense game. To beat him was an accomplishment," he said.

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Tweet talk

Narendra Modi‏
@narendramodi:
Congratulations @vishy64theking! You’ve proven your mettle time and again. Your tenacity inspires us. India is proud of your exemplary success at the World Rapid Chess Championship!

Virender Sehwag
@virendersehwag:
Congratulations @vishy64theking for winning the World Rapid Chess Championship. Thank you Sir for being such an inspiration always.

Rahul Bose
@RahulBose1:
Why am I not surprised. #ageisjustanumber

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