Friday, 22 November 2013

Anand, Carlsen: Tying up and packing up

Is this about chess?

British grandmaster Nigel Short tweeted that this was "the end of an era" soon after the end of the ninth game of the world chess championship match in Chennai, India, and the message had upset quite a lot of people there. Obviously, these were the fans of Anand s/o Vishwanathan who felt that the message was premature and rather tactless. Nevertheless, the overall feel in the chess community is that there is very little hope left for India's favourite son of the moment. His supporters were right to feel indignant and emotional over the tweet but the writing was already on the wall since a few days ago.

Indeed, in my opinion, Anand with his back to the wall is definitely seeing through the last days of his reign as the reigning world chess champion. Short (sic) of a miracle, come tonight, we should jolly well welcome in a new world chess champion in Magnus Carlsen, although it is no certainty.

Anand came to the chessboard with all guns blazing in the ninth game yesterday and was well on his way to conduct a fearsome attack on Carlsen's king. The world champion had to, seeing how he was trailing his challenger by two points and he needed a win to come back into the match. But fearsome though the attack was, there was no immediate loss for Carlsen and he was hanging on tightly until Anand threw it all away with an erroneous move. The Indian grandmaster was rocked when he realised what he had done and he resigned the game almost immediately.

Anand's latest loss - his third in the scheduled 12-game match - meant that he now trailed Carlsen 3-6 with only three more games to play. Unless he can win these three games, which must surely be a near impossible task, he has no chance to take the match even to the tie-breaks.

Many chess observers are anticipating that tonight's 10th game may likely be a short draw - only a formality - that would give Carlsen the much-needed half-a-point to become the new world chess champion but in my opinion, this may not happen. I would suspect that Anand, being the great champion himself, may not want it this way.

He may decide to fight it out until the bitter end, not because he doesn't want to go out limply, not because he wants to show the world that he still has the fighting spirit in him, but because he would want to remain a well-respected professional till the end. "If you want my title, come demonstrate to me that you deserve it," may well be the focus of tonight's game.

Whatever the reason, it is about time to tie up the loose ends, pack up the equipment and sit back to enjoy possibly the last game of the greatest show on earth.

[Event "WCh 2013"]
[Site "Chennai IND"]
[Date "2013.11.21"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
[Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteTitle "GM"]
[BlackTitle "GM"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2870"]
[WhiteFideId "5000017"]
[BlackFideId "1503014"]
[EventDate "2013.11.21"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. e3 c4 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. g4 O-O 11. Bg2 Na5 12. O-O Nb3 13. Ra2 b5 14. Ng3 a5 15. g5 Ne8 16. e4 Nxc1 17. Qxc1 Ra6 18. e5 Nc7 19. f4 b4 20. axb4 axb4 21. Rxa6 Nxa6 22. f5 b3 23. Qf4 Nc7 24. f6 g6 25. Qh4 Ne8 26. Qh6 b2 27. Rf4 b1=Q+ 28. Nf1 Qe1 0-1

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