Sun-Herald Chess Column for December 31

"It was a dream come true for me," admitted Viswanathan Anand after defeating Alexey Shirov in Tehran to win the FIDE World Championship.

A win in the fourth game last Sunday gave Anand an overwhelming 3.5-0.5 victory over Shirov and a winner's purse of $US514,176 (about $A920,000).

Shirov received just over $US290,000 for reaching the finals.

"The match was not as easy as the scores suggested," Anand declared modestly at the post-match press conference which was delayed by half an hour while Anand tried to escape the playing hall through a mob of adoring fans.

"Alexey's style is very sharp and any one of the games could have gone either way."

A pensive Shirov admitted that he was tired after playing for 16 days straight in the preliminary rounds in New Delhi.

"However even not tired, I could have lost to Vishy," Shirov conceded.

As soon as it became known that Anand had won the world title, tributes began pouring in from India, from figures as diverse as the President of India to Miss World, Priyanka Chopra.

Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, proclaimed "Anand has done the country proud by becoming the first Indian to claim the coveted world chess title. Anand's grand success will inspire this country's youth for achieving excellence in the field of sports."

Tehran 2000
Game 4
White: V.Anand
Black: A.Shirov
Opening: French Defence
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nce2 c5 6.f4 Nc6 7.c3 Qb6 8.Nf3 f6 9.a3 Be7 10.h4!? 0-0 11.Rh3 a5 Improving on 11...Na5!? with which Shirov had lost previously to Anand. 12.b3 Qc7 13.Neg1!? Provocative, but Anand encourages rathers than fears Shirov's sacrifices. 13...a4! 14.b4 fxe5 15.fxe5 (Diagram) 15...Ndxe5! 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Qxe5+ 18.Qe2 Bxh4+ The obvious choice but , since Black is obliged to swap queens next move, in a must-win situation Shirov might have done better to try Kasparov's suggestion of 18...Qc7!?. 19.Kd1 Qf6? 19...Qxe2+ 20.Bxe2 Bf2 is quite playable for Black. 20.Nf3! Qxc3 21.Bb2 Qb3+ 22.Kc1 Now the threats of 23.Nd2, trapping the Black queen, and 23.Rxh4 decide. 22...e5 23.Rxh4 Bf5 24.Qd1 e4 25.Qxb3 axb3 26.Nd2 e3 27.Nf3 Rae8 28.Kd1 Anand knows he need only restrain Black's pawns to become World Champion, a task he manages with ease. 28...c4 29.Be2 Be4 30.Kc1 Re6 31.Bc3 Rg6 32.Rh2 Bd3 33.Bxd3 cxd3 34.Kb2 d2 35.Kxb3 Rg3 36.Kb2 g5 37.Kc2 Rc8 38.Kd3 g4 39.Be5 Rc1 40.Rh1 Rxg2 41.Nh4 1-0