But, since two other men, Vladimir Fedoseev and Ian Nepomniachtchi, both of Russian Federation, also scored the same number of points, a tie-breaker was required to decide the victor. And the 48-year-old, Vishwanathan Anand went on to finish on top with 10.5 points in the 15th and the final round.
Anand won his first FIDE World Chess Championship in 2000 in Tehran, after several near-misses in the year before.
In the final 2017 meeting of the best global chess minds, Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand (fondly known as 'The Tiger from Madras), takes the world chess crown yesterday, as the Inaugural 2017 King Salman World Open and Women's Rapid Chess Championships reaches halfway point. What's interesting is that Anand wasn't even expected to be part of the event.
He described the win against Carlsen as the crucial moment in the tournament. "I was in a good frame of mind", Anand said. "I came here in nearly pessimistic frame of mind".
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"The last two rapid events were nothing short of disastrous". In 2010, Anand defended his title in the World Chess Championship against Veselin Topalov and in 2012 he set win against Boris Gelfand. "He seemed to be in great form, as always", Anand added. But it has been the most wonderful surprise.
"I am so unbelievably happy". He actually won the tie-break 2-0. I wasn't even planning to come to this tournament, because it was announced very late. A draw with Jhao Jun of China in the opening round and then win over Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus in the second round.
As for the other Indians in the competition, P Harikrishna finished 16th, Surya Shekhar Ganguly 60th, Vidit Gujarathi 61st, B Adhiban 65th and SP Sethuraman 96th.