Viswanathan Anand’s triumph at the World Rapid Chess Championship in Riyadh in 2017 at age 48 was chosen as the Moment of the Decade at the 2021 Sportstar ACES Awards on Sunday.
A pioneer in Indian chess, Anand endured a mixed phase during the 2010s. He had begun the decade by successfully defending the world title he had won in 2010, by defeating Boris Gelfand 8.5-7.5 in Moscow in 2012. But he dropped the title to Magnus Carlsen a year later in Chennai. Anand had to wait five years for another world crown, which he won by beating Vladimir Fedoseev 2-0 in the final tie-break at the World Rapid Chess Championship in 2017.
“I am very proud to have won the Moment of the Decade. I remember that whole day as if it was yesterday. I was in Riyadh. I finished the main tournament and to my pleasant surprise, because a lot of the results were quite close, I tied for first. I realised there was a tie-break against a very, very strong young Russian, Vladimir Fedoseev. We had no time to collect ourselves, and before you knew it, it was over. But I had done it – I had won the first game and drawn the second.
"I remember coming out and maybe only for the second time in my career I pumped my fist because I just wanted to release my emotions. It was a very special moment for me because it had not been a great month till that point. This result changed everything, but I would say it changed it for one year before and one year afterwards. I remember the whole world championship in 2017 as being so unexpected, such a pleasant surprise. I am very happy to share that moment with you,” Anand said, recalling the win.
The 2021 edition of the Sportstar ACES Awards honoured the Giants of the Decade in Indian sport, with the winners being assessing on their performance and consistency from 2011 to 2020. Eleven awards were presented under the popular choice category, which was open to public voting, along with 14 jury awards as well as special recognition awards under two new categories – Sports for Good and Giants off the Field – that recognise the work of organisations and individuals who have used sports for the betterment of society.
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