Shelby Lyman on Chess: Long Live the King
Sunday, December 7, 2014
(Published in print: Sunday, December 7, 2014)

Magnus Carlsen remains world champion with a 6 1/2 – 4 1/2 victory in Sochi, Russia, over Viswanathan Anand — but only after being challenged by three weeks of steadfast play.

In the final round, the Indian grandmaster, trailing by only one game, maintained chances to equal the score when he cleverly opened the position on the queenside of the board.

Carlsen, taken aback at the unexpected development, was clearly unhappy. But Anand promptly squandered the opportunity with an ill-considered sacrifice, which Carlsen easily exploited to win both the game and the match.

Overall, Anand had played well and fought bravely throughout the 11-game match. In fact, had he taken advantage of an egregious blunder by his opponent in an earlier game, he might today be world champion. It was a “massively relieved” Carlsen, instead, who gathered himself — after Anand overlooked the blunder — and won the game, which was played in the sixth round.

Why the mistake in judgment in the final game?

Anand’s brief explanation — “I wasn’t thinking very clearly at this point anyway” — tells the tale. Fatigue and the continued pressure of Carlsen’s play had taken their toll on the veteran grandmaster.

Carlsen’s mood at the end was expansive and celebratory. Not required for a year and a half to again defend his title, he could look forward to further consolidate and enjoy his position as king of the chess world.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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