Even a single error from Indian today could hand Magnus Carlsen the world chess championship title
All eyes will be on Viswanathan Anand during Game 11 of the world chess championship match at Sochi today as a single mistake from the Indian can result in world champion Magnus Carlsen wrapping up the title.
Viswanathan Anand. Pic/AFP
Anand and his team must have spent Saturday's rest day finding a strategy to restrain the Norwegian who has proved himself lethal with white pieces time and again.
That one mistake...
In contrast to last year's match at Chennai, Anand has proved much tougher here psychologically and that has reflected over chessboard. He has nearly matched Carlsen move by move. It is only his inexplicable debacle in Game 6, where he missed a simple winning opportunity and went on to lose the game, that has swung the match in Carlsen's favour.
Carlsen, to his credit, has proved that he is here to stay at the top, contrary to some predictions that his game was going downhill after his lukewarm performances recently.
Anand has to be very careful in today's game with the black pieces. If he lands up with even a slight minus position from the opening, he is sure to suffer a python-like strangulation from Carlsen.
Anand will be looking for inspiration from 1954 world championship match between Mikhail Botvinnik and Vasily Smyslov. The then world champion Botvinnik was leading by two points over the challenger Smyslov.
But in an amazing fightback, Smyslov equalised the match by winning two games in the end. If such an experienced world champion like Botvinnik could falter under pressure, there is always hope for Anand to see young Carlsen crack similarly.
The author, a former India women's chess champion, is the youngest Padma Shri awardee at 16