Viswanathan Anand rounded off yet another brilliant year with a title-winning effort at the Paul Keres Memorial rapid tournament in Tallinn, Estonia, over the weekend.
The NIIT Brand Ambasssador logged five points with five straight victories for a perfect score of five out of five and finished two points clear of Russia's Alexander Khalifman. Germany's Eric Lobron was third at 2.5 points.
Anand beat Tomi Nyback, Meelis Kanep and Eric Lobron with black pieces, while he had white in his victories over Kaido Kualots and Alexander Khalifman.
In 2004, Anand has won all rapid events, the last victory coming a few weeks earlier in Corsica.
The NIIT mind champion was in the scenic city of Estonia with the twin purpose of playing the Keres Memorial and promoting chess in the country. Anand went through various promotional activities during his stay. He not only donned the role of NIIT Brand Ambassador, but also of chess ambassador. He appeared on Estonia 's most popular television show before the match along with Supermodel and president of Estonian Chess Federation, Carmen Kass.
During his stay in Estonia, he also called upon the President of Estonia, Arnold Rüütel.
The highlight of Anand's stay was a visit to the Keres Museum in the Tallinn Chess House. Paul Keres was the most popular chess celebrity from Estonia. In Tallin there is a street in his honour as well as statues and busts in his memory in various prominent public places. The Keres musuem is a chess connoisseur's paradise where chess players still play, inspired by their of their chess star.
Paul Keres is the only chess player to have his portrait on the country's national currency, the Estonian Kroon.
"I have studied Paul Keres games. He was also known as a gentleman player. He would have been world champion beyond doubt if the World War hadn't interfered. When I was very young one of the first games I studied was the game Keres-Alekhine 1937 they played in Margate. I was very keen to see his museum. He was a chess star in his country and it is nice to see a country cherishing his memory," said Anand.
This was Anand's first visit to Estonia.
"I always look forward to seeing new countries. This year I have been lucky to add three more to my list. With Estonia I think I have visited close to 42 countries."
Final round 5 standings: 1. Anand, Viswanathan (IND - 2781) 5.0; 2. Khalifman, Alexander (RUS - 2669) 3.0; 3. Lobron, Eric (GER - 2509) 2.5; 4. Nyback, Tomi (FIN - 2554) 1.5; 5. Kulaots, Kaido (EST - 2597) 1.5; 6. Kanep, Meelis (EST - 2475) 1.5.