After 3 draws, the World Chess Championship Match is tied 1.5:1.5
World Champion Viswanathan Anand is defending his title on home turf in Chennai, India. Formerly called Madras, Chennai is the state capital of Tamil Nadu and one of the most important cultural and industrial centres in south India.
“Vishy” Anand, now 43, took the world title in the Championship Tournament of 2007 – just after a rocky period when there had been two rival World Champion titles. Since becoming undisputed World Champion, Anand has successfully defended his title three times: against Kramnik (in 2008), Topolov (2010), and Gelfand (2012).
The Norwegian challenger, Magnus Carlsen, is by most accounts the favourite to win the 12-game match: at 22, he’s much younger than Anand – and he is, after all, the all-time highest-rated player in the world (Elo 2870). Indeed, Carlsen’s rating difference above the second highest-rated player, Aronian (2801), is bigger than Aronian’s rating difference over any of the next 15 players! Anand (2775) is currently ranked 8th.
In one of the most anticipated chess matches in recent memory, fans are looking to see a heavily prepared Champion use his preparation to get an advantage in the opening, while the young challenger fights to steal the game in the middlegame and ending.
Games will be broadcast live, starting at a brutal 4:30 AM Eastern Standard Time. Rounds 1 and 2 are Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10.
Opening Ceremony – Thursday, November 7
Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlen shake hands in Chennai.
At the opening ceremony in Nehru Indoor Stadium, Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa gives a brief 1500-year history of chess, proudly claiming India as the “homeland of this amazing game,” Chennai as a “sports hub,” and Viswanathan Anand as “the greatest sportsman India has ever produced.” (Sachin Tendulkar, watch out!)
She proudly lists the crores (tens of millions) of rupees she has sanctioned for investment in sports infrastructure during her three tenures as Chief Minister – including chess clubs and a chess-in-schools programme – before declaring the World Championship Match open.
In the draw of lots, Anand’s photo is drawn (to cheers from the crowd) and a black king is chosen, meaning Carlsen will play white in the first game.
Round One – Saturday, November 9
The first game ends in a quick draw. Carlsen chooses 1.Nf3 (a flexible move that is not the most testing), goes for a Catalan-type setup, and offers a repetition of moves on move 13, after just an hour and a half of play. Anand makes strong, solid moves in a Grünfeld-like setup, and must be pleased with neutralizing Carlsen so quickly. Not a bad result for all concerned, notes live commentator, Susan Polgar:
Not a bad short draw today. Good for Vishy to get rid of 1 black. Good for Magnus to get rid of jitterbug. Good for me to save my voice :)
— Susan Polgar (@SusanPolgar) November 9, 2013
But not a Short draw.
— Nigel Short (@NigelShortChess) November 9, 2013
To make some sense of the game, here’s the live broadcast from ChessBomb with commentary by Canadian IM Aman Hambleton from Ottawa:
(Aman is one of Canada’s most promising young players. Currently, he and fellow Canadian, GM Eric Hansen, are based in Valencia, Spain. Below, from the 2012 UNAM Open where he placed 3rd and earned a GM norm, Aman poses atop an Aztec pyramid with another strong Canadian player, WNM Liza Orlova.)
Round Two – Sunday, November 10
Another draw. After Anand’s 1.e4, Magnus plays the mildly surprising …c6. The Caro Kann has a reputation as a solid defence – but of course some lines are still sharp! The game follows a relatively unexplored offshoot of the main line after Black plays 7…e6, and ends with White avoiding some wild possibilities and forcing another early draw, again by repetition.
I am not feeling inspired by the start of the WC match in India. One thing Kasparov always understood is that chess needs to be a show.
— Hikaru Nakamura (@GMHikaru) November 10, 2013
If 18.Qg4 it can become very exciting and tactical. I guess Anand didn’t want to risk losing with white.
— Tarjei J. Svensen (@TarjeiJS) November 10, 2013
Here’s Aman Hambleton again with the ChessBomb live-broadcast commentary.
Round Three – Tuesday, November 12
Another draw, but fans get to see a full fight. After playing 1.Nf3 again, it is Carlsen who first deviates from the line in Game One. In the middle, the game almost threatens to tip Anand’s way, but Carlsen musters a strong defence.
So far like wrestling, with Magnus trying for a clinch & slow squeeze & Vishy handily fighting out of it but not pushing hard for more.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) November 12, 2013
Here’s Aman Hambleton’s blow by blow:
Check results, photos, videos, and live coverage at http://chennai2013.fide.com/