The King Salman World Rapid Championship concluded yesterday in Riyadh with a thrilling finale in which Viswanathan Anand (fondly known as ‘The Tiger from Madras) claimed the title after the blitz tie-break with Vladimir Fedoseev.
Entering the last round of the Open Rapid Championship, Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen were tied on the first place with 10 points each.
Anand took a quick draw with black against Bu Xiangzhi, and Magnus Carlsen sensed the opportunity to play for a win. But Alexander Grischuk had his own plans and attacked ferociously to eventually defeat Carlsen and drag him down to 4th shared place in the overall standings.
Vladimir Fedoseev won the Russian derby against Vladislav Artemiev and Ian Nepomniachtchi scored against Wang Hao, to both catch Anand on the shared first place.
According to the Tournament Regulations, “if there is a tie for the 1st place, the top 2 players according to the first eligible tie break criterion will play a play-off.” Nepomniachtchi had the worst tie-break and therefore won the bronze medal.
Anand and Fedoseev proceeded to play two 3’+2” games to decide the Champion. Anand 1,5-0,5 and took the golden trophy.
“I am so unbelievably happy. It was so unexpected, I mean I won many world rapid titles but recently I had the feeling it was slipping away,” said a beaming Anand after the final day of the rapid tournament.
There is no doubt that both Anand and Wenjun will be hot favourites for the blitz rounds, which kick off today. Anand however, seems to be firmly watching his back for the world No.1 player Carlsen. “A double would be very tempting, but Magnus, what can I say, he’s a colossus. He just wins games so effortlessly. He’s the huge favourite again. But I will definitely try my best in the blitz.”
One thing is certain; chess fans all around the world will have their eyes firmly on the next phase of the tournament.
Ju Wenjun of China continued the good run on the final day of the Women’s Rapid Championship and after scoring two wins and three draws emerged clear winner with 11,5/15 points. Ju modestly repeated her statement from the first day of the Championship, stating that “she was lucky”.
Her compatriot Lei Tingjie was in position to direct a tiebreak match, but she could not win with black against Nana Dzagnidze, therefore being awarded the silver medal. Elisabeth Paehtz claimed the bronze with 10,5 points.