Anand crowned World Chess Champion for fifth time

Moscow: Defending champion Vishwanathan Anand of India clinched the World Chess Championship title for the fifth time here Wednesday defeating Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in a rapid-chess tie-breaker.

Anand sealed his fourth-consecutive world title beating Gelfand 2.5-1.5 in the four-match tie breaker at Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery. The tournament went into the tie-breakers after Anand and Gelfand drew the 12th game Monday. They were tied 6-6 after the final round.

In the tie-breaker, Anand went ahead after winning the second game in 77 moves following a draw in the first in 33 moves. The remaining two games also ended in a draw for a result of 2.5-1.5 as Anand defended his world championship title for the third time in a row.

Anand will receive $1.5 million, while challenger Gelfand bags $1 million.

Anand said he was too tense to be happy.

“Game one was a tense start. It was a long and tough match. The match was very intense, I am relieved. I was better for most part in the second game. It was a back and forth game,” Anand told reporters at the renowned State Tretyakov Gallery.

A humble Anand admitted that Gelfand was a tough competitor.

“I am too tense to be happy, right now I am relieved. Gelfand was playing well, the match was very even,” he said.

The 42-year-old Indian said losing the seventh game had put him on the back-foot and he felt fortunate to defend the crown.

“It was a huge blow for me to lose the seventh game. It was very critical moment for me. I was extremely fortunate that I was able to come back the next day. Given that we drew our first 12 games, deciding the match by tie-break is quite a reasonable situation,” he said.

The 42-year-old became the first Asian to win the FIDE world chess championship after defeating Latvian Alexei Shirov in Tehran in 2000. Anand’s triumph Wednesday was his fourth consecutive — he also won in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

Gelfand, 43, gained the right to be contender for the world title after a win last May against Russia’s Alexander Grischuk at a contenders’ tournament in Kazan, Russia.

Russian billionaire and Gelfand’s school friend Andrey Filatov paid $7 million from his own pocket to hold the event in one of the halls of the renowned State Tretyakov Gallery.