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Vishy Anand is the World Rapid Champion 2017

by Sagar Shah - 29/12/2017

Vishy Anand played the tournament of his life to score 10.5/15, remain unbeaten and become the World Rapid Champion 2017. After 15 rounds of rapid chess, we had three leaders - Anand, Fedoseev and Nepomniachtchi. The tiebreak was a blitz encounter between the first two placed players. Nepo had to be content with the third spot and Anand and Fedoseev fought it out in two blitz games to determine who would take home the gold. It was Anand who finally won the title with a 2-0 win over Fedoseev. While the world thought that Anand would soon retire, the Indian maestro is busy beating the best players in the business!

Fedoseev - Vishy Anand, tiebreak game two

Vladimir Fedoseev knew that things were getting out of his hand. He had to win this game in order to equalize the scores and take the match into armageddon. A draw would work just fine for Vishy as he had won the first tiebreak game. Understanding the demands of the situation Fedoseev sacrificed his knight on d4 with Nxd4. The point was not so clear. Black recaptured cxd4, Bxd6 Rxd6 and I was wondering what exactly did White gain by sacrificing his queen. Fedoseev whipped out the move Qf4!?

The move looked interesting but Anand just played his queen back to c7. Fedoseev pushed his pawn to c5, which could have been taken with the queen as Rc1 would be met with Qa3. However, to c5 Anand just played Rd7 and White pushed on with c6. Vishy took the queen on f4 (Rd6 was stronger) and White played cxd7!?

The World Rapid event had reached its pinnacle of excitement. The queen was hanging on f4, the pawn was queening on d8. But what would happen if the queen went back to c7? Well Fedoseev went in with Re8+ and after Kh7 d8=Q and Vishy kept his cool and picked up Nxe8 Qxe8.

...Bf5! The final nail in White's coffin. Fedoseev had no chance to win this position and in a drawish situation resigned the game.

Fedoseev played really well but was unable to win the title

In a rare moment of showing his emotions, Vishy Anand pumped his hands in the air after winning game two against Fedoseev

Final standings:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 RpKrtg+/-
112GMAnand ViswanathanIND275810,50,02733129,028742046,8
28GMFedoseev VladimirRUS277110,50,02728129,528712039,4
37GMNepomniachtchi IanRUS278010,50,02700121,528432024,8
468GMBu XiangzhiCHN265410,00,02746130,528672085,4
51GMCarlsen MagnusNOR290810,00,02712129,0282320-27,8
65GMGrischuk AlexanderRUS281310,00,02709124,02827205,4
745GMSavchenko BorisRUS268510,00,02686123,027862042,0
837GMMamedov RaufAZE269510,00,02652120,027532025,6
926GMGuseinov GadirAZE271410,00,02648111,027542016,6
1018GMSvidler PeterRUS27439,50,02729129,528052027,4
119GMWang HaoCHN27709,50,02726126,528142018,8
1214GMYu YangyiCHN27529,50,02694120,027782011,8
1342GMArtemiev VladislavRUS26879,50,02680119,027542030,2
1416GMOnischuk VladimirUKR27489,50,02678119,02757206,2
1520GMDing LirenCHN27349,50,02674117,52748204,6
1643GMHarikrishna P.IND26879,50,02666120,027372026,0
1795GMGrigoriants SergeyRUS25729,50,02635107,526592067,6
1890GMZhao JunCHN26009,50,02591107,026182053,0
1969GMPantsulaia LevanGEO26549,00,02738125,528062062,2
2092GMSaric IvanCRO25979,00,02699119,527162060,4


Anand's performance:

Not only did Anand remain unbeaten, he also gained 47 Elo points. This take his live rapid rating to 2805

Very few people would have believed that Anand had it in him to become the World Champion again!

This image of Anand received nearly 450+ shares on Facebook within an hour
Vishy Anand giving an interview to Goran Urosevic after becoming the World Rapid Champion 2017
IM Sagar Shah explains to you some of the key aspects of the final day that helped Anand win the title

If she could fly, she wouln't have thought even for a second to go to Riyadh. Aruna Anand was extremely happy after her husband became the World Rapid Champion

Anish Giri on Anand becoming the World Rapid Champion

Wesley So sends us his humourous message

The after-party at Four Seasons Hotel| Photo: R. Anantharam

What is truly admirable is Vishy Anand's control and discipline. He made a tweet and then postponed his celebrations until the World Blitz Championships 2017 came to an end:

Can he make it two in row?! Let's hope so!

Replay all the games:

The full report on day three of the World Rapid 2017 by Aditya Pai will soon follow.