Anand wins Tal Memorial rapid title


A little over two months after he had epitaph writers eating their words with a world rapid crown, Viswanathan Anand scripted yet another remarkable rapid win, this time at the Tal Memorial in Moscow on Sunday.

The strong 10-player event -- which had nine rounds of rapid chess and will be followed by 13 rounds of blitz -- has some of the top Grandmasters apart from Anand, including Vladimir Kramnik, Hikaru Nakamura, Sergey Karjakin, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Alexander Grischuk taking part.

Having beaten Nakamura, Anand had entered the final day's play in joint lead with Mamedyarov at four points. The title was decided after the five-time world champion Indian's victory over Grischuk in the eighth round was followed by a draw against Boris Gelfand in the final round, leaving him on top with six points.

Mamedyarov, on the other hand, slipped to a defeat against Daniil Dubov in the eighth round to fall rapidly behind.

Four of the players -- Grischuk, Karjakin, Kramnik and Mamedyarov -- will be part of the Candidates tournament in a week's time to decide the World Championship challenger. For Anand to reign supreme in such a tough field, and in a format he hasn't particularly backed himself to win in the recent past, will be a massive confidence boost.

Speaking to ESPN after his abysmal show at the St Louis rapid tournament in August last year, Anand, 48, who earned the 'Lightning Kid' sobriquet as a teen, had suggested that his rapid chess days were possibly over. "There is [an age glass] ceiling no doubt," he said. "I was once the poster boy for rapid chess."

Anand would probably agree that he was wrong.