Anand Beats Fedoseev In Playoff, Wins World Rapid

File Photo : Viswanathan Anand
Chess.Com|29-Dec-2017 12:59

Viswanathan Anand won the World Rapid Chess Championship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia today. He defeated Vladimir Fedoseev 2-0 in a playoff. Ju Wenjun won the women's tournament.

"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 shining Anand after the final day of the rapid tournament. "Honestly I came here hoping for a good performance. I was not even thinking I could win. It's such a pleasant surprise."

Anand took over the title from a player also born in 1969: Vassily Ivanchuk. The Ukrainian GM, who is sometimes absolutely brilliant but more often not, scored only 6.5/15 this time.

We're picking up the tournament in round 11 when Fedoseev was half a point ahead of Anand, Peter Svidler and Wang Hao. The leader drew his game, and saw the group trailing him by half a point growing bigger as Magnus Carlsen had joined them.

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Pantsulaia, Levan (2612) vs. Carlsen, Magnus (2837)
World Rapid 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 11.1 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: A07 | 0-1

Anand drew his game with Svidler quickly and did the same against Ian Nepomniachtchi. In this phase of the tournament, it started to become more important not to lose than to win, to secure a minimum prize but also as a way to save energy.

Svidler-Wang, Safarli-Mamedyarov and Rakhmanov-Mamedyarov also ended in draws, which was good news for the winner of Carlsen-Fedoseev, one of the top clashes of the tournament. For a long time, the endgame looked utterly drawn, but Carlsen managed to win in the end and took over the lead.

Fedoseev, Vladimir3 (2718) vs. Carlsen, Magnus (2837)

World Rapid 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 12.1 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: C91 | 0-1

More draws followed in round 13, in the games Carlsen-Wang, Fedoseev-Yu, Onischuk-Anand and Ding-Svidler. Four players came half a point closer: Bu Xiangzhi, Alexander Grischuk, Nepomniachtchi and Vladislav Artemiev.

Grischuk's win was wild:

Grischuk, Alexander (2772) vs. Safarli, Eltaj (2639)
World Rapid 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 13.6 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: A04 | 1-0

Carlsen faced Artemiev, whose Scotch Four Knights was too solid for any winning chances. Again, there were lots of draws in this round (Svidler and Nepo after only eight moves), but not in Anand-Grischuk. The Indian legend played a fantastic game that reminded of his best days, and which was a big step to his title.

Anand, Viswanathan (2782) vs. Grischuk, Alexander (2772)
World Rapid 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 14.2 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: C65 | 1-0

In the final round, Anand was playing Black against Bu, and drew in just 11 moves, thus securing a very decent prize. He also knew that, if more players would finish on 10.5 points, he could still win the tournament in a playoff.

But first Anand was helped tremendously by Grischuk once more, as the Russian beat Magnus Carlsen, thus taking some revenge for his loss in the 2017 Chess.com Speed Chess Championship semifinal.

Carlsen, Magnus (2837) vs. Grischuk, Alexander (2772)
World Rapid 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 15.1 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: A05 | 0-1

Two players joined Anand in first place: Fedoseev and Nepomniachtchi. Only two of the three would reach the playoff, and to determine the numbers one and two, these tiebreak rules were used:

1.Direct Encounters (applies only if all tied players have played each other)
2.ARCO (Average Rating of Opponents, including own rating, Cut 1)
3.Buchholz Cut 1
4.Greater number of games with Black (unplayed games counted as White)

As it turned out, Nepomniachtchi won bronze, and Anand and Fedoseev would play for the trophy. The prizes were shared, and all three got $150,000 (€109,755).

Read also : "Anand finishes joint 2nd at Isle of Man chess meet"

The highly experienced Anand easily switched to the new time control of three minutes and two seconds increment (incidentally the same as in the blitz tournament that starts tomorrow!) while Fedoseev was struggling on the clock. But also on the board, Anand was reigning supreme, again playing with a knight vs a bishop. In the final position, Fedoseev lost on time.

Anand, Viswanathan (2782) vs. Fedoseev, Vladimir3 (2718)
World Rapid TB 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 1 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: C50 | 1-0

In the second game some crazy things happened, but whatever the engines thought of it, the important thing was that Anand kept everything under control. And so, at age 48, the Tiger of Madras added yet another world title to his CV.

Fedoseev, Vladimir3 (2718) vs. Anand, Viswanathan (2782)
World Rapid TB 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 2 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: A07 | 0-1

Before finishing the open section, it should be mentioned that another Indian player had a very pretty checkmate in one of his games:

Ganguly, Surya Shekhar (2650) vs. McShane, Luke J (2640)
World Rapid 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 14.36 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: A40 | 1-0

Ju Wenjun led the women's tournament from start to finish and won the gold medal as the only player to finish on 11.5/15, good for a 2658 performance rating. She remained undefeated throughout the tournament. On the last day, two wins and three wins were just enough to stay ahead of the pack.

Here's how she beat Nana Dzagnidze, with a cute final move:

Ju, Wenjun (2567) vs. Dzagnidze, Nana (2522)
World Rapid Women 2017 | Riyadh KSA | Round 11.1 | 28 Dec 2017 | ECO: E00 | 1-0

he World Rapid Championship took place December 26-28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was a 15-round Swiss with a prize fund of $750,000 for the open section and $250,000 for the women's section.

The World Blitz Championship will take place December 29-30. It is a 21-round Swiss with a prize fund of $750,000 for the open section and $250,000 for the women's section. You can follow the games in Live Chess.