GrandMaster Viswanathan Anand’s horrible blunder on the 60th move cost him the crucial Game 6 — and probably the World Championship — against challenger and World No 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway on Saturday. With six more games to be played, Carlsen leads 4-2.
Commonwealth champion Grandmaster Abhijit Gupta revealed that Anand could not sleep after losing the Game 5 on Friday night. And given the current situation, Saturday would have been even worse. Carlsen, a favourite before the match on the other hand is sitting (sleeping!) pretty.
It must be the worst game in Anand’s illustrious career. The Spanish Opening — although a solid opening — is believed by few not to give Black playable position and those few started calling it “Spanish Torture”. Was it Anand’s listless play or was it Carlsen’s sheer brilliance which turned it into a “White torture”?
A Spanish priest named Ruy Lopez de Sagura systematically studied it to write a 150-page booklet way back in 1561. So the opening got its name “Spanish Opening” or “Ruy Lopez”. When Carlsen whipped out ‘3…Nf6’, the spectators sat upright, expecting some new moves from Anand’s team. Alas, Anand played a timid “d3” and channeled the game to calm waters. Anand’s team has surely failed him.
Anand squandered good opportunities in the opening to sharpen the game. His game went downhill after that and he was in a bad position by the 38th move. He really started playing dashing chess by giving up two pawns and nearly securing a draw before blundering on the 60th move. Now the world champion is faced with an uphill task. After a rest day today, it will be interesting to see how he copes with Carlsen’s blitzkrieg.
The author is a chess mentor and a Dronacharya award winner.