Reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway proved why he is Number One in the world with a smooth victory over his Indian challenger Viswanathan Anand in the second game of the World Chess Championship match at Sochi.
Norway's Magnus Carlsen (right) makes a move as he plays against India's Viswanathan Anand at the FIDE World Chess Championship match in Sochi yesterday. Pic/AP/PTI
The game was played on the anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall and Magnificent Magnus sent the Berlin Wall crashing over the chessboard too as he neatly demolished Anand's Berlin Defence (sometimes also known as the Berlin Wall) against his Ruy Lopez Opening.
The Berlin Defence came into the limelight during the Garry Kasparov-Vladimir Kramnik match and has been a main defence against White's dangerous Ruy Lopez system. Carlsen played a slightly different and improved plan with White.
Although a pair of minor pieces was exchanged as early as move 13, Magnus tricked Anand by throwing all his pieces on Anand's King-side. Just when it looked like Anand would match Carlsen's aggression move by move, the Indian maestro faltered and hesitated to offer a Queen exchange which would have made him survive the Norwegian's onslaught.
Carlsen pounced on the opportunity to dominate the centre with his two Rooks and Queen. It is commonly believed that the player who dominates the centre of the chessboard, dominates the game. Anand pondered for longer periods over each move as the position started becoming more difficult.
Both the players came under slight time pressure as the mandatory deadline of two hours each for 40 moves drew nearer. But Carlsen stuck to basic chess principles by controlling the centre file and doubling on the seventh rank to force Anand to resign the game on the 35th move.
There will be a rest day today and the third game will be played with Anand playing with White pieces tomorrow. Anand and his team would surely utilise this day to find a new strategy to make a comeback in the match. Carlsen and his team, on the other hand, will be looking out for the new strategies Anand is likely to adapt.
The author, a former India women's chess champion, is the youngest Padma Shri awardee at 16