Viswanathan Anand, the iconic Indian grandmaster and former world champion, has once again astounded the world as he won the World Rapid Chess Tournament held in Riyadh in December. With the victory, ‘Vishy’ has put an end to his retirement speculations by giving a befitting reply in style to those critics who said that Anand’s age has outrun his intellect and grip over the game. Anand has further shown the world that he still has the fire within him to challenge the best in business, like the world champion Magnus Carlsen, who is considered the best in rapid chess.
At 48, an age most people would think unsuitable for even successful sportsmen, Anand has won the hearts of millions including former chess legend Garry Kasprov, by showing them his reflexes and thought-line are still rapid enough to clinch the world title of Rapid Chess. It would be one of the most memorable crowns in his career as the previous year has not been pleasant for Anand especially after he failed to qualify for the Candidates Tournament, to decide the challenger for the World Championship match against Carlsen, and later finished last in the London Chess Classic. The victory in Riyadh is even more sweet as Anand can now safeguard his stance and hold his head high in the international arena of chess.
After the victory Anand said that he has ventured out for the tournament with a pessimistic frame of mind after the disastrous experience in the past two rapid events. But surprising everyone, he has shown the world his mastery over the 64-square game. The Chennai ace has stood invincible throughout the tournament. Anand has earlier defeated world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway to finish on top with 10.5 points at the end of the 15th and final round. He has won the title through a tie-breaker since two other players, Vladimir Fedoseev and Ian Nepomniachtchi, both of Russia, also scored 10.5. In the tie-breaker game Anand’s decades long experience has outclassed Fedoseev, who is 26 years younger by winning it 2-0.
Following the victory, Twitteratis have greeted Anand with tweets of praises, including wishes from President Ram Nath Kovind, Garry Kasprov etc.