Chennai: After two nerve-wracking endgame battles, Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen settled for a quick 32-move draw in just over two hours in the seventh game of the world chess championship here, on Monday. The 12-game series now stands 4.5-2.5 in favour of the Norwegian. The first to reach 6.5 points will be the winner.
Carlsen will have the advantage of starting the eighth game with white pieces on Tuesday. Anand, who played his successive white on Monday, used the opportunity to arrest his slide of two consecutive losses. The Indian once again opened with the king pawn and faced the Berlin defence in the Ruy Lopez game from Carlsen. Anand quickly played the anti-Berlin variation and got a slight edge in the opening.
The defending champion, who is two points behind the challenger, tried to press on by playing actively . In order to gear up for a battle, both players castled on the queen side but the periodic exchange of pieces led to a quick endgame, where the two players had a queen, knight and five pawns each. Unlike previous games, Carlsen decided to repeat moves and shared the point in a dead-equal position.
In the post-game press conference, Carlsen said that the result suited him as he had a healthy lead. “I won my last game with black and so draw with another black is fine,“ he said. Anand was relieved. “After the last two games, it is nice to break the result. I was hoping to press a little bit, but couldn't manage much,“ the Indian said.
Anand said that he used the rest day to assess what was going on. “The weather didn't allow us to go out. But it was a pleasant day and we stayed inside the hotel and worked,“ he said, adding that he would keep trying to win despite being in a disadvantaged position now. Carlsen said he played a little bit of football and basketball on Sunday .
STARS KEEP IT LIGHT
One crucial lesson from the world championship is that a `draw' is the best result for the postmatch press conference to remain lively.
After cutting a picture of desolation following defeats in the two previous rounds, Viswanathan Anand was back to his cheerful self on Monday. Magnus Carlsen, too, treated the assembled reporters to a couple of his toothy grins.
A rambling question on the role of psychology in chess evoked a sigh from the Norwegian. “It's a really lengthy question,“ he said, before throwing no light on the issue. A deadpan Anand added, “Yes, psychology is important in chess.“
Carlsen also spoke on how unsuccessful he was in his recreational games during the off-day before round seven.
DOCUMENTARY WITH A TWIST
UK's Ian McDonald and J. Geetha followed three blind chess players from India for three years all over the world to shoot their labour of love, a documentary titled: Four Moves In, We Are All Blind.
McDonald, the director of the mainly observational and visual documentary, said he learnt many important lessons en route. “Besides patience and the significance of touch, I also learned the difference between eyesight and foresight.
“As chess is all about visualising a sequence of moves, blind people are favourably disposed to playing the game. I wouldn't be surprised if a blind Vishy emerges one day . All blind players need is infrastructure and opportunities,“ he said.
According to Geetha, the producer won rave reviews.
Chennai: Omelettes, some bread and fresh sweet lime juice is what world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen eats before taking on defending champion Viswanathan Anand in the world chess championship. The Norwegian, who wakes up close to the match time of 3 pm, doesn't eat any breakfast in the morning.
“I don't know what he drinks, if he is awake in the morning,“ said Carlsen's personal chef Magnus Forssell (48).
The Big Match in Chennai is Forssell's first assignment with Carlsen. “If Magnus wins here, maybe he will need me more,“ said the chef, who works full time at a restaurant attached to Norway's most visited tourist location -Holmenkollbakken, which is a large ski resort in Oslo. “I have taken leave for this trip to India,“ he added.
Outlining Carlsen's diet before the game, Forssell said that apart from four eggs, he adds some small potatoes, a little bit of bacon, a touch of garlic and chillies to the omelette. “Carlsen takes a lot of juices, water, energy bars, raisins and yoghurt during the game,“ he added.
Basically, the chef pre pares all the fresh items in one of the Norwegian team member's room before the match and stores them in a special fridge. Carlsen prefers orange and sweet lime for fresh juices, while his secret recipe could be the chocolate milk that he drinks during the game.
After the game, Carlsen drinks one bottle of water and joins his team for dinner at any one of the restaurants in the hotel. “Sometimes, he also eats in his room,“ said Forssell, who added that his job mainly is to take care of the Norwegian gastronomically .
“I cannot check food poisoning just before he eats. It will be too late. So I only taste for quality. But, since I have been interacting and eating a lot with the chefs in the hotel, I trust the food prepared by them,“ Forssell said.
Asked about the missing trademark orange colour bottle on Carlsen's playing table, he said that they had left the bottle behind in Norway, but he had been drinking a lot of orange juice and pure water kept in another bottle.
WORLD TITLE DREAM DRIVES GM HARIKA
WORLD TITLE DREAM DRIVES GM HARIKA
DC/ S Sujatha
Dressed in bright green salwar suit, GM D. Harika was enjoying herself at Hyatt Regency, the venue of the world chess championship on Monday. Apart from accompanying her foreign chess friends and journalists to temples and for shopping in Chennai, the young lady also spoke a few ambitious words for herself and India in the commentary box during the seventh round game.
“I want to achieve my goal of becoming the world women chess champion,“ she said, adding that her other wish is to see her country in the medals list in the chess Olympiad. “We are close to reaching the medals table. Last time we finished fourth. We will surely go up in the coming Olympiad,“ she added.
The Hyderabadi, who wanted the world match between Anand and Carlsen to be celebrated as a mega event, rushed to Chennai the day she landed from China. “I reached home on Saturday morning after playing in the China league, where I scored two wins and two draws for my chess club Shandong. I took an evening flight to Chennai and came straight to Hyatt,“ she said.
Noting that the Big Match in Chennai is in itself an occasion to celebrate, the 22-year-old Harika said that Anand is a legend and he has nothing to prove to anyone. “Everyone has been disappointed with the last two losses of Anand and I hope he makes a comeback. But, there is no need to feel so down,“ she added.
On Carlsen, the chess princess said that the Norwegian is a strong player and extremely talented. “He is only 23 and it is not a joke to play at this level consistently . It would be wonderful for his family also,“ said Harika, who was lucky to partner Carlsen in a casual `pair' chess game against WGM Tania Sachdev and GM Sergei Movsesian at Gibraltar Chess Festival.
“We played a lot of games. Initially I struggled to understand Carlsen's moves, as it would be my turn after he makes a move and vice versa on the same board. But slowly , I got hold of it,“ she added.