World Chess Championship 2013 – A New Era Begins

As most of you know, the World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan ‘Vishy’ Anand and Magnus Carlsen came to an end 3 days ago.  Anand, the defending champ, ultimately proved to be no match for  Carlsen, the Norweigian phenom, who won 6.5-3.5, a staggering margin of 3 points. I guess the suprising part is not the fact that Magnus won, but how he won.

The first 2 games were quick Draws, with both players getting a feel for the opponent’s preparation.  The next two game’s were much more exciting, with Vishy coming close to a win in the 3rd one and Magnus coming close to a Win in the 4th. The 5th game was an unsual Semi-Slav, and pretty soon an endgame was reached, which was slightly better for Carlsen.  Magnus pressed hard, trying to squeeze something out,  but Vishy defended accurately and a Draw seemed inevitable.  Suddenly on the 45th move, the World Champion blundered with Rc1+??.  Magnus was then able to simplify into a winning rook endgame, and Vishy resigned 8 moves later.  Blood had been spilled!

All eyes were now on Anand and how he would respond in Game 6 with the White pieces.  Vishy opened with 1.e4, and countered Magnus’s Berlin with 4.d3.  Carlsen’s play wasn’t accurate, but Vishy missed his chance to seize a decent advantage.  Soon, the World Champ began to go astray and Magnus was able to win a pawn, just as they reached the 40th move.  Anand defended well, and once again, things seemed headed towards a Draw.  But on the 60th move, the second time control, Vishy inexplicably played Ra4 ??, which sealed his fate.  Magnus created a passer pawn and won a few moves later.  I was astounded when I replayed the game and saw the move Ra4.  The move had no purpose and basically gives a free move to Black.  Vishy was never able to recover from these two devastating losses, and Magnus went on to secure the match in convincing fashion, winning one more game in the process.

Thus, a new era started with Magnus Carlsen becoming the 16th World Champion, at 22 years, 11 months, and 358 days.   Carlsen’s reign as a world champion has now begun …

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Here’s my earlier posted Game 5 recap in a bit more detail.

As most of you chess aficionados know, the World Chess Champion is currently underway in Chennai, India. The current World Champion Vishy Anand, looks to defend his title against Norwegian challenger Magnus Carlsen. The first two games were quick lifeless draws, finishing  about an hour. The last 3 Games however were a treat for the specatators, and provided some entertainment. In Game 3, Vishy came very close to achieving a winning advantage, however a premature simplification on his side steered the game to a draw. In Game 4, Magnus employed the solid Berlin Wall against Vishy’s Ruy Lopez. This time it was the World Champ who went astray, and Magnus managed to win a pawn shortly after. A magnificent battle followed  with Carlsen arduously pressing for the win, and Vishy valiantly defending for a draw. After a grueling 6 hours, the game ended in a draw. Game 5, which finished 4 hours ago, saw Carlsen with the White pieces. After Vishy’s 3.c6, Carlsen went for 4.e4 !? which channeled the game into calmer, but uncharted waters. Inaccurate play by Anand allowed Carlsen to simplify into a slightly better endgame. These are the types of positions Carlsen thrives in – a small but nagging advantage in which he can torture and press the opponent as long as he wants with no risks for himself whatsoever. But Vishy defended precisely and so things appeared headed for another draw. However 6 moves after reaching the timecontrol, Vishy played 45.Rc1+, a fatal error- 45.Ra1 was the drawing move. Magnus swiftly capitalized on the error, and traded down to a winning Rook Endgame. He cashed in on the full point 7 moves later. A rejuvenating result for Carlsen, but a demoralizing one for Anand. Tomorrow Anand takes on the White pieces and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds.

On a side note, it was refreshing to see Indian chess fans acknowledge the presence of Garry Kasparov, a true chess legend and former World Champion who visited Chennai , while the officials unfortunately failed to do so.

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