Viswanathan Anand has exacted sweet revenge of his 2013 World Championship loss to Magnus Carlsen in the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Former multiple World Champion Anand and Carlsen met in round nine of the championship and the Indian managed to come out on top.
Amidst the controversy surrounding the event’s location, some big names like Hikaru Nakamura and reigning women’s world rapid and blitz champion, Anna Muzychuk have chosen not to participate in the tournament while Nakamura in a recent tweet wrote that it was horrible that a chess tournament is being organized in a country where basic human rights aren’t valued. But if that took a sheen away from the league a bit, Anand and Carlsen decided to lit up the format with some classic display.
Anand started the process with black pieces and began with an aggressive approach before winning the game in 34 moves, thanks to a delectable endgame in which his queen and bishop that controlled the long diagonal proved too powerful.
After the win, the Grandmaster remains unbeaten in the tournament after nine games as he has drawn four games and won five. Before facing Carlsen, Anand drew his match against Russia’s Vladimir Fedoseev. Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, and Wang Hao were among the leaders in the tournament right now. The former World No.1 lost his crown to Carlsen in 2013 and although he defeated the Norwegian in 2014, the win would have helped him bring the confidence back.
Indian number two, P Harikrishna also had a fantastic first day in Riyadh. After having scored 3.5/5, Harikrishna now is in the joint third place on the table, half point behind Anand. His biggest win of the day came in the third round when he beat the reigning world rapid champion Vassily Ivanchuk in the Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez. Youngsters, Vidit Gujrathi and Adhiban Baskaran also created huge upsets on day one. While Vidit got the better of Ian Nepomniachtchi in the fourth round, Baskaran outplayed tournament’s second seed, Grandmaster (GM) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a Sicilian defence. After five rounds they are both on 3.0/5.