Anand and Wenjun bag Rapid titles

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31 December, 2017

"However, on the very first day of this tournament, I could feel that I was playing well", said Anand. "India is proud of your exemplary success at the World Rapid Chess Championship". Then I played an excellent game against Alexander Grishchuk (in the penultimate round), who is one of the top rapid and blitz players in the world. Since I had a guaranteed draw, I made a decision to check a few moves and after two minutes it suddenly hit that I was winning. "To finish last was a heavy blow", Anand said.

Anand was placed joint second at the start of the final five rounds (11 to 15) yesterday, but the 48-year-old showed his fighting spirit as he came back strongly to bag the title on tie-break after a three-way tie with Fedoseev and Nepomniachtchi at 10.5 points from a possible 15.

The President of India has called Anand an inspiration for all Indians and maybe it's a sign that the day Anand will be conferred with the Bharat Ratna is not far. "Of course, given our history, given the fact that we've played some intense matches, there was that extra bit of feeling", he added. What's interesting is that Anand wasn't even expected to be part of the event.

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Round 15 saw Anand draw with Bu Xiangzhi while Carlsen went down to Grischuk. The women's title was won by Ju Wenjun of China. After 2 minutes, it suddenly hit me that I was winning. Then Anand finished the job, defeating Vladimir Fedoseev over the course of two tier-break games. In what was a thrilling and exciting array of rapid rounds, chess lovers worldwide witnessed some exciting encounters and many surprises throughout the opening rounds. "I am so happy that I can not describe it in words", Anand said. "It's an absolutely unbelievable feeling and just so unexpected after all the disappointments in rapid chess", says Anand. It was unexpected because I was not even planning coming to the tournament as it was announced very late.

What Viswanathan Anand had planned as time off from the board turned out to be his most successful week in chess in an otherwise forgettable year. In 2010, Anand defended his title in the World Chess Championship against Veselin Topalov and in 2012 he set win against Boris Gelfand. "I hope you dedicated this latest victory to everyone who has asked you when you were going to retire".


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