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Not a cat and mouse game: Grandmasters

Drawing their first two matches after enjoying a minor edge in each game does not mean world chess champion Viswanathan Anand and the title challenger Magnus Carlsen are playing a cat and mouse game, say chess experts.

Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand
Norway’s Magnus Carlsen (left) and India’s Viswanathan Anand during the Norway Chess Blitz tournament earlier this year. Pic/AFP

They are testing each other’s match strategies and nerves — these are some of the views expressed after the two kings of chess signed peace treaty in their first two outings. “It is certainly not a cat and mouse game. It is actually a fight between two lions,” chess grandmaster RB Ramesh told IANS.

According to him, spectators would love a decisive result but the stakes are high for both the players. “They are inside arena to win the title and not to entertain the spectators. For them the end result — title winner or loser — is important,” Ramesh added.

Playing for a win
Agreeing with him is grandmaster B Adhiban who told IANS: “There is no cat and mouse game between Anand and Carlsen. I thought Carlsen was playing for a win.” “In the first match Anand wanted to play safe. In the second, Anand could have played for complication, moving his queen to g4 square than exchanging it,” Adhiban said.

According to him, Norwegian title contender Carlsen seems to take the game in unchartered territories to unsettle the world champion Anand at his home town. “Carlsen does not want to engage Anand in opening moves,” he added. On Carlsen making his moves faster than the Anand, who was called the ‘lightning kid’ during his childhood days, Adhiban said: “He is normally fast. Perhaps he is trying to intimidate Anand”

Chess old-timers who have tracked Anand’s style of play since his childhood told IANS that the champion had played three styles — aggressive (early days); aggressive and defensive (on his way to the top); and defensive (while at the top). “He used to be very aggressive during his school days. Of late Anand avoids risks,” V Ravichandran, a former national player. He has seen Anand playing alongside during his junior days.

“Perhaps Anand thinks the title belongs to him and does not want to hand it over by going for risky variations,” Adhiban added. According to grandmaster Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury, who is here to watch the match, Anand and Carlsen may be exchanging information about their strategies with their first two games. “I think it is going to be a full-fledged battle between the two in the coming days,” Chowdhury told IANS.

Well, that is what has brought N Ramesh, who played chess along with Anand decades, ago here all the way from Dubai. “I am with an insurance company in Dubai. India may throw up another World Chess Champion. I am not sure whether Chennai would host another event like this. This is a life-time opportunity and I decided to come here,” Ramesh told IANS.

Queried about the expense and the opportunity cost involved, he said “the proximate cause of so-called loss” is nothing as compared to the occasion.
The third game will be Tuesday with Carlsen playing white. Both the players have one point each after two games. The player who scores 6.5 points wins the title.

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