Chess By Shelby Lyman
on December 13, 2014 – 12:01 AM

For many, the ability of Viswanathan Anand to make the recent title match with Magnus Carlsen in Sochi, Russia, a true contest was somewhat of a surprise.

In the early games of what turned out to be a close-fought event, Carlsen also seemed to be affected by the mystique of his easy victory during his first title match with Anand, a year ago.

Unexpectedly he got a rude awakening when he nearly botched the sixth game with a crude blunder.

Fortunately for him, Anand missed his opportunity and Carlsen won the game, taking the lead.

At that point Carlsen’s attitude changed. His faux pas forced him to recognize that he was facing a hard struggle against a determined and well-prepared opponent. Another such blunder could seriously compromise his chances.

With the white pieces in game seven – his second White in a row – Carlsen was able to exercise his signature ability to create continuous pressure with the slight advantage and initiative that the first move typically made possible.

The result was an important gain in confidence, although the game finally ended in a 122-move draw.

He subsequently went on to defeat Carlsen 6½ to 4½ in 11 rounds of play.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian head of state, spoke during the closing ceremonies. Chess, he said, was very important in his country where more than 540,000 played competitively. According to the organizers, a worldwide audience of 2 million followed the match each day, presumably in large part, through readily available move-by-move coverage on the Internet.


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