The world chess championship match between world champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Viswanathan Anand ended somewhat predictably with the Carlsen retaining his crown.
What makes Carlsen such a great chess player? Much has been said about his ability to play long games with accuracy, his mastery in endgames, phenomenal memory and steady nerves.However, his challenger is not far behind either when it comes to chess memory.
Anand is known to remember all key positions, games and ideas just after one glance. Where the challenger lagged behind was in other departments. Recently, he has been prone to mistakes if a game prolongs.
Endgame was never Anand's forte although he makes up for this by his opening preparation. With regards to nerves, in the past also Anand has cracked under pressure. To Anand's credit he gave a good fight in the match, much better than the Chennai match where it was a cakewalk for Carlsen to the throne.
Especially memorable was Game 3 for the fantastic comeback Anand made after losing Game 2 — a lesser mortal would have lost his confidence.
But the turning point of the match was Game 6 where Anand let a simple tactical opportunity slip. Had Anand capitalised on that opportunity then the picture might have been different. After that game, there was no turning back as Carlsen kept on increasing the pressure to emerge as a deserving winner.
The author, a former India women's chess champion, is the youngest Padma Shri awardee at 16