"Becoming world champion again is the most amazing feeling," Anand tweeted.

Vishwanathan Anand ends title drought by winning World Rapid Chess ChampionshipTwitter
news Sports Saturday, December 30, 2017 - 09:02

Venkatachari Jagannathan

Silencing those who cite his age, India's Viswanathan Anand, a five-time World Chess Champion, on Thursday presented himself a world title as a belated birthday gift.

Much to the delight of his fans in India and the world over, the 48-year-old Anand won The King Salman World Rapid Championship in Riyadh, proving his mastery in the 64-square board game once again.

"Becoming world champion again is the most amazing feeling," Anand tweeted.

Known as the 'lightening kid' during his school days, Anand convincingly won the world rapid tournament to bring back a world chess title to the nation that gave the world the game itself.

"I was happy on hearing the news. He played against an incredibly strong field and won the title undefeated," Aruna Anand, the champion's wife, told IANS.

She said Anand goes to every tournament with an open mind and will not say anything about his chances of winning a tournament.

"During the tournament, Anand was more focused. He won crucial games at the right time," Aruna remarked.

V Ravichandran, a National B player and who had played with Anand during their school days, said: "I was very much excited after seeing Anand win the title online. It is a great achievement at this age.

"He is the living legend of the Indian sport," Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary of the All India Chess Federation (AICF), told IANS.

"We believe in Anand's ability. I was tracking Anand at the world rapid tournament from round one. After his win against World Champion Magnus Carlsen, we were confident that Anand would win the title," Chauhan said.

According to him, AICF would hold a grand felicitation function honouring Anand.

Chauhan said rapid games in fact are much more taxing mentally and physically.

Meanwhile, wishes are pouring in for Anand from people in different walks of life.

"Congratulations Viswanathan Anand for winning the World Rapid Chess Championship. Such determined pursuit of excellence across decades makes you an inspiration for all of us. India is proud of you," Indian President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet, said: "Congratulations @vishy64theking! You've proven your mettle time and again. Your tenacity inspires us. India is proud of your exemplary success at the World Rapid Chess Championship!"

"Heartiest congratulations to Vishwanathan Anand @vishy64theking for winning the World Rapid Chess Championship. We are proud of you," former President Pranab Mukherjee tweeted.

"Congratulations to @vishy64theking on winning the World Rapid Chess Championship. India is proud of you," was a tweet from the Office of Rahul Gandhi, Congress President.

Anand's long-time former rival and Russian legend Garry Kasparov felt that the latest win will help the Indian stun his critics.

"Congratulations to the man from the sixties, @vishy64theking, on his World Rapid title! I hope you dedicated this latest victory to everyone who has asked you when you were going to retire!," he said.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

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