Viswanathan Anand guarded despite 2017 World Rapid and Blitz Championship success

Viswanathan Anand, despite his success in Riyadh and Moscow, is not in the frame for the World Championship cycle in 2018 and he remains cautious about his chances of making it to the tournament.

other sports Updated: Apr 16, 2018 11:57 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Viswanathan Anand,2017 World Rapid and Blitz Championship,World Rapid Champion
Viswanathan Anand is not in the frame for the World Championship cycle in 2018 and he remains cautious about his chances of making it to the tournament. (AFP)

Viswanathan Anand’s terrible 2017, in which he failed to win any major title, made people question whether it was time for the five-time world champion to retire.

However, as a last-minute entrant for the 2017 World Rapid and Blitz Championship in Riyadh, Anand’s fortunes turned dramatically.

The 48-year-old became the World Rapid Champion and secured a bronze in the Blitz event and followed up with victory in the Tal Memorial in Moscow.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Poker Sports League ceremony, Anand said, “Riyadh will be something that I will cherish for a long time. It is nice to be termed a world champion rather than a former champion. But to say that Riyadh is the starting point of greater things is asking for too much.”

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In 2017, Anand had said that his chance of playing a World Championship match is greater than zero. Despite his success in Riyadh and Moscow, the five-time world champion is not in the frame for World Championship cycle in 2018.

When asked whether he would like to change his statement following his Riyadh success, Anand was cautious.

“I have to qualify for the Candidates. Essentially, you can keep saying 0%, 90% or 70%. But these are meaningless statements. It does not matter what your probability is. It only matters you qualify for the tournament. My thinking is on those lines. Beyond that, it is two years away,” Anand said.

India enjoyed a great run in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, finishing third in the medals tally with 26 gold medals.

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Disciplines like shooting, weightlifting, boxing and wrestling gave India their best overseas performance ever in the Commonwealth Games. Anand said India’s success in Gold Coast gives him plenty of optimism.

“The success in the Commonwealth Games is a stepping stone. Asian Games and Olympics are tougher. This gives the players confidence to take their performance to the next level,” Anand said.

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 08:34 IST