Chennai: Viswanathan Anand is losing it and fast.
Probably, the five-time world champion is resigned to the fact that challenger Magnus Carlsen is on the verge of winning the World Championship title. On Thursday, at the post-match media conference, the defending champion snapped at the Fide press officer and WGM Anastasia Karlovich. Reason? Karlovich asked Anand whether he mulled a bit long while making a move.
Anand snapped at Karlovich. “I was thinking of what to eat tonight!” His voice was almost quivering. Karlovich was stunned and Carlsen looked disaffected with the wry smile never materialising.
“In a sense it was irresponsible or silly but I spent about 40 minutes on the 28th move and then I suddenly saw his response.
And for a second I got excited with this knight move (which was the blunder) and simply missed. As soon as I played the knight move, I saw what I had done,” said Anand.
Carlsen observed: “I had to go all out for counter play. There were an amazing number of complicated lines here. I wasn’t sure really about what to do. As it happens, my moves weren’t that complicated. I had to play the only moves all the time. Fortunately, he made that blunder”.
He was being modest as he withstood the pressure of the kingside attack and defended calmly in a dangerous looking position.
Earlier, the stage was set for an exciting duel when Anand played 1.d4. That meant there was no Berlin Wall on the screens.
Just when a solid Slav or a Queen’s Gambit was being dreaded, Carlsen unexpectedly came up with the Nimzo Indian, openly signalling that he was not shying away from tactics.
Such open bravado came for high praise, with English Grandmaster Simon Williams remarking: “Magnus showed lot of courage playing a dangerous defence. It’s incredible.”
The wild scenario of a Kingside attack upped the tempo as Anand went for the jugular. GM Anish Giri of the Netherlands remarked: “The game just couldn’t have been more exciting!”
The wildness of the position and the seemingly impending Kingside attack prompted English GM Daniel King to exclaim: “Is it really the world championship match?!”
But the blunder on the 28th move defused all the enthusiasm. The celebrations from the Norwegian lounge next to the media centre, here, were treated with mutely blank expressions. It hid the disappointments and disbelief of the Anand camp.
But then, everyone knows Carlsen is more than worthy of a world champion. After all, he has been superior in almost all the departments.
Only, the opening phase has not been a strong point for both the players.
The Defining moment
A very tense position prevailed. White’s advanced pawns at e5, f5 & g5 looked threatening, ready to invade Black’s Kingside and help White’s pieces to a breach. The Knight on g3, and Queen on c1 were the main players in White’s attack, with Bishop on g2 and Rook on f1 seeming to have all the potential to play a supporting role.
In contrast, Black’s Knight was on the edge, Bishop and Queen were at still at their natural squares on c8, and d8. Even more worrying is the King, which didn’t look too comfortable on being attacked.