PUNE: India’s K Humpy, women’s World chess championship finalist last year, said that Viswanathan Anand has “high chances” to win the ongoing battle for the men’s crown against Boris Gelfand.
“The match has entered a crucial stage,” said Humpy from Vijayawada after Anand struck back to win the eighth game on Monday to even the 12-game match score at 4-4 in Moscow.
“There will be some sort of tension. It’s quite amazing that despite losing the seventh game from an equal position, Anand has managed to keep his cool. The way Gelfand lost in the eighth game, he can be nervous and could be a little weak psychologically. Anand has definite advantage now. He may not even require tie-breaks (set of rapid games if the match is tied at 6-6).”
When asked about mistakes by both players in the seventh and eighth games, Humpy said: “You don’t expect such mistakes from such high-class players. But considering that it’s the World championship match, many things could be bothering them. They have to go for much more than what is there in the position.”
Humpy felt that start of the match was cautious with both players opting for a solid and safe approach. “Gelfand went for different set ups (to catch Anand off guard).”
On Anand’s previous title matches with Veselin Topalov (2010) and Vladimir Kramnik (2008), India’s first woman grandmaster Humpy said: “Anand had lost the first game to Topalov. But he reacts fast. His attitude is positive and he doesn’t get too disappointed. While Topalov tried to complicate the positions and made the games exciting, Anand was equal to the task. And he simply outplayed Kramnik in the preparation of Slav defence.”
When Anand played his first World championship match against Garry Kasparov in 1995, Humpy had yet to win the National Under-10 title.
True to her age, Humpy, now 25, wanted to beat Kasparov at that time. She has since beaten Anatoly Karpov (Cap d’Agde tournament, Oct 2006) albeit in the rapid format. Humpy was also world No. 2 after Judit Polgar before slipping to No. 4.
The Indian had a crack at the World title but fell short against Hou Yifan of China last year. “I was in a hurry to get the result. I was desperate to win Game 3 (8-game match) with white pieces. But after watching these masters at work, I realize that you have to be patient. But I guess it also comes with the experience,” said Humpy.
“I had lost about 20 Elo points after the World title match. Since then I haven’t played much. My goal is to improve my rating (currently 2589, all-time high 2622). I’m playing in Georgia (World rapid and blitz) and then maybe a Grand Prix in Russia. I have to play three Grand Prix this year to be in the running for Championship cycle. I’m not sure of playing in the Olympiad (Turkey: August 27-September 10 this year) yet.”
The ninth game of Anand-Gelfand match is slated to start at 1630 IST with the Israeli having white pieces.