Magnus Carlsen takes firm step towards world chess title
Game 8 of the world championship match between Viswanathan Anand and world champion Magnus Carlsen ended in a draw — a result which took Carlsen (4.5 points) just two points away from winning the world chess title for the second time in a row. Anand is a point behind the champion on 3.5 points.
All Smiles: World Champion Magnus Carlsen smiles during a press conference after beating Viswanathan Anand in their World Championship Match series last year in Chennai. Pic/AFP
In the Queen's Gambit Opening, Anand, playing White, chose a variation which has given good results for White recently.
Carlsen surprised theoretical experts by choosing a Rook move which was a favourite of old masters like Dawid Janowski and Frank Marshall at the end of 19th century. This showed that the young world champion, who normally doesn't rely much on opening preparation, was well prepared for the line chosen by Anand.
Anand placed all his pieces on optimum squares and was ready to grind Carlsen in his own style. Carlsen, however, came up with a nice pawn thrust on the Queen side which exchanged Anand's all powerful Queen.
The world champion then exchanged both the Rooks indicating clearly that a draw suited him as he is leading by one point and was playing Black. Both the players agreed to split the point on 41st move when it was apparent that nobody could make any progress.
With only four games remaining, Anand and his team is under tremendous pressure to come up with some idea to trick the world champion. Game Nine will be played tomorrow with Carlsen playing White pieces.
He is surely sitting pretty and is expected to adopt his usual slow patient game. It remains to be seen how Anand's team will counter his strategy.
The author, a former India women's chess champion, is the youngest Padma Shri awardee at 16