Moral win for Anand against Carlsen

Raghunandan GokhaleGrandmaster Viswanathan Anand must be a very happy man after a satisfactory draw with the disadvantageous Black pieces. World No 1 Magnus Carlsen was visibly overawed by the big occasion and played timidly in their first encounter of the World Chess Championship match at Chennai. Magnus who is famous for grinding his opponents in long battles had to scurry for a short draw in one and half hours’ play.

Anand superior
Though Carlsen has not disclosed his team of trainers yet, they all must be a worried lot after World Champion Anand easily pushed the challenger on defensive from the Black pieces. At the press conference Magnus tried to laugh the embarrassment off by saying that he had such discomforting draws with White pieces even in Candidate matches from where he won the ticket to Chennai.

But clearly, he also felt that the day belonged to the Indian! The magnitude of the occasion must be playing on the world’s highest ranked player’s mind as he took his seat much before World Champion Anand appeared in the glass cubicle. Magnus was visibly nervous and fidgety in his chair.

Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen
India's Viswanathan Anand and Norway's Magnus Carlsen compete in Chennai on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Anand appeared on stage with his preferred blue-coloured suit and FIDE President Kirsan Illjumjinov played first move dictated by Magnus to signal the beginning of battle royal. Actually it was not surprising that the Mozart of Chess picked up the slow and steady Reti Opening against Anand who prefers sharp and complicated game.

Anand employed set up which is famous by the name of late Grandmaster Grunfeld. Expectedly, Carlsen employed both of his long ranged Bishops on long diagonals. However Anand’s Knight raided the White Queenside and forced Carlsen’s proud looking Bishop to retreat to its original position.

After this ignominious retreat Carlsen sat upright and in his own words -“had to apply some emergency breaks”. He started playing carefully and when he saw Anand not ready to go all out for any winning attempts, he repeated the position to signal a truce. Anand who clearly enjoyed slightly superior position, decided not to force the matters and the draw was agreed.

Their appearances at the end of the game indicated their mental conditions. Anand was relaxed and composed while Carlsen was disheveled with half of his white shirt sticking out of his trousers. He was also constantly squirming in his chair. Hopefully, he will regain his composure soon.

So though the scoreboard is showing half a point each, Anand has scored a moral victory in Game 1. He has to only follow it with trademark sharp, incisive play from White in the second game against rattled World No1.

Anand, Carlsen happy with draw
Reigning world chess champion Viswanathan Anand, who opened the defence of his crown against Norwegian Magnus Carlsen with a tense draw in the first game in Chennai on Saturday, said: “I am happy, it was a fairly comfortable draw with Black.

But there is a long way to go and it is very difficult to predict what will happen over the next 11 games.” Carlsen also appeared satisfied with a draw despite the advantage of playing first with White.

“I have played a couple of embarrassing draws with White, so this was okay. No damage done." The second game will be held on Sunday. All the games are taking place in Chennai. 

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