New Delhi: Chess icon Viswanathan Anand hit back at his critics in style by winning the World Rapid title in Riyadh on Friday, his first in the format since 2003.
The 48-year-old had of late been drawing flak for a string of sub-par performances.
The former world champion remained unbeaten through the tournament and came back strongly to bag the top position on a tie-break after a three-way tie with Russians Vladimir Fedoseev and Ian Nepomniachtchi at 10.5 points from a possible 15.
The Chennai ace then defeated Fedoseev 2-0 in a two-game tie-break to win the trophy. But he described the win against Norway’s world champion Magnus Carlsen as the “crucial moment” in the tournament.
A relieved Anand said he entered the tournament in a “pessimistic” frame of mind but managed to surprise himself and the world with an unbeaten campaign.
The Indian also said that towards the end he got worried that he might not even secure a podium finish but a series of unexpected twists and turns on the final day helped him land the top prize.