RIYADH: Sergey Karjakin was the sole leader in the King Salman World Blitz Chess Championship in Riyadh.
Like last year, the defending champion scored nine of maximum 11 points on the first day of the two day 21-round event.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was in second place with 8.5 points while Magnus Carlsen only scored seven points along with India’s Viswanathan Anand, who had won the Rapid Chess title on Thursday at the age of 48.
The 54-year-old Pia Cramling sensationally leads the women’s section.
Six more players are in third spot with eight points and five share fourth spot with 7.5 points.
The event concludes today.
With his performance in Riyadh, Anand has not only won the title of World Rapid Champion for the 12th time but has also proved to the world that even at 48, the Tiger can give even the very best in the world a run for their money.
“Thanks all, the feeling is floating. My head keeps playing the song… We are the champions! The words ring so true. More on this moment after the blitz,” said Anand on his Twitter account on Thursday night.
For Anand, the rapid title was a crucial win. He hadn’t had a particularly great year if his joint second place performance at the Isle of Man Open were to be excluded.
His growing age was another reason for his critics to pull him down.
Anand’s age and inconsistent performances have consistently lured his critics into opining that he should retire. But so far, every time, the Tiger from the southern Indian city of Chennai has successfully shut them all down, not with his words, but with his performances.
The latest being in Riyadh which he achieved in emphatic fashion beating reigning world champion and his arch rival Carlsen in a crucial game.