Surprised Anand savours rapid title

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Dec 2017 10:42:15



RELIEVED after claiming his first rapid world 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.
“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,” Anand told PTI after his triumph.

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.
Anand said he had had a particularly tough year coming into the event in Riyadh.
“...Especially the London (Chess Classic) tournament was a big disappointment. It is not that I had high expectations of London, but still I expected to do well. But to finish in last place was a heavy blow.

“Anand said he felt good on the first day of the tournament as he played well and it reminded him of his glory days.
“It was on the first day I felt I was playing well. It was as if time had stood still.
“I was back in time a few years when I was dominating rapid chess tournaments. That gave me a lot of confidence. On top of that, I beat Peter Leko in a very nice game. I was in a good frame of mind,” he added.

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 just 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,” Anand said.

“But, we had a very intense game, an intense Nimzo Indian. It is nice beating a player, who is so dominant in the blitz and rapid rating lists.
“To beat him was a real accomplishment. Of course, given our history, given the intense matches, there was that extra bit of feeling,” the Indian Grand Master added.
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.
PM Modi, President congratulate Anand
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Friday congratulated Viswanathan Anand, saying the chess ace has proved his mettle time and again.

“Congratulations! 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!,” the PM tweeted.
President Ram Nath Kovind too pats Viswanathan Anand for winning world rapid chess championship.

“Congratulations Viswanathan Anand for winning the world rapid chess championship. Such determined pursuit of excellence across decades makes you an inspiration for all of us. India is proud of you,” he said in a tweet.
Anand starts slowly in World blitz C’ship
NEWLY-CROWNED World Rapid Champion Viswanathan Anand won two and drew four in the first six rounds to make a slow start to his campaign at the world blitz chess championship here on Friday.

With absolutely no time to relax after a brilliant show that saw him clinch the World Rapid Championship, Anand was a bit tentative at the start of the world blitz that is played with just three minutes to each player with a two second increment after every move is made.
As a result, it was a draw with Jhao Jun of China in the opening round and then Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus proved no match for the Indian in the second round.
Two more draws with Alexander Moiseenko of Ukraine and Nigel Short of England ensued before Anand won fluently against Ivan Salgedo Lopez of Spain.