Anand wins World Rapid Chess C'ship in Riyadh

The genial genius from Chennai, who had defeated top Magnus Carlsen of Norway earlier on in the tournament, went on to finish on top with 10.5 points at the end of the 15th and final round.

Viswanathan Anand had to seal the title with a tie-breaker.   -  K. Murali Kumar

First, he stunned the World champion. Then, he stunned the world. Viswanathan Anand did all that at the age of 48, as he lifted the World rapid chess championship at Riyadh on Thursday.

The genial genius from Chennai, who had defeated top Magnus Carlsen of Norway earlier on in the tournament, went on to finish on top with 10.5 points at the end of the 15th and final round. But, since two other men, Vladimir Fedoseev and Ian Nepomniachtchi, both of Russia, also scored 10.5, a tie-breaker was required to decide the winner.

Anand won that mini match against Fedoseev, who is 26 years younger, 2-0 to win what should be one of his most memorable crowns in a long career. As for the other Indians, Pendyala Harikrishna finished 16th, Surya Shekhahkar Ganguly 60th, Vidit Gujarathi 61st, B. Adhiban 65th and S.P. Sethuraman 96th.

The women’s title was won by China’s Ju Wenjun. Dronavalli Harika was the best-placed Indian, finishing 19th. Padmini Rout took the 22nd place, S. Vijayalakshmi 34th and Eesha Karavde 35th. 

The standings: 1-3. Viswanathan Anand (Ind) and Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus) and Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus), 10.5; 4-9. Bu Xiangzhi (Chn),Magnus Carlsen (Nor), Alexander Grischuk (Rus), Boris Savchenko (Rus), Rauf Mamedov (Aze) and Gadir Guseinov (Aze) 10. Tie-break: Viswanathan Anand beat Vladimir Fedoseev 2-0.

Women: 1. Ju Wenjun (Chn) 11.5; 2. Lei Tingjie (Chn) 11; 3-8. Elilsabeth Paehtz (Ger), Bela Khotenashvili (Geo), Pham Le Thao Nguyen (Vie), Ulviya Fataliyeva (Aze) and Ekaterina Atalik (Tur).