Chennai: Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen is the new world chess champion. A fighting draw in a knight and six pawns each endgame in the 10th round gave the world no.1 his first world crown.
The Mozart of Chess, who reached the all-time high rating of 2872 recently, defeated fivetime champion Viswanathan Anand 6.53.5 in the world chess championship that concluded here on Friday.
In the 10th game, Anand played to the gallery when he responded with the Sicilian defence against Carlsen’s king pawn opening.
The Norwegian replied with the Rossolimo variation.
In the middle game, Anand blundered by playing a wrong queen move.
But, Carlsen failed to capitalize on it and the resultant position was an equal endgame. The game was drawn in 65 moves.
The Norwegian becomes the 20th world champion and the second one from the Western world after Bobby Fischer to win the crown.
Carlsen will take home $1.53 million (`9.6 crore), while Anand will receive $1.02 million (`6.4 crore) as prize money.
While the Norwegian’s win heralds a new beginning in world chess, which has so far been dominated by the Russians, except for a Fischer here or an Anand there, the loss neither diminishes the Indian’s command over the game nor his contribution to the growth of the mind game in India in the last three decades.
The six year stint on top of the world might have ended on Friday, but Anand can still have another go at the title, if he wins the Candidates' tournament at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. The eight-player event will take place in February-March 2014 to find a challenger for Carlsen.
“I assume I will play the Candidates. But first I should get some rest and then take stock of the position,“ said Anand in the post-game press conference. Talking about the championship in general, the Indian said that his chances depended mainly on his ability to last longer without making mistakes.
“This year, I made a lot of mistakes in tournaments and I wanted to stay clear of them. But the way I lost the fifth game was the way I thought I couldn’t afford to lose. I got good positions in the opening and then slowly slipped. The fifth game was a heavy blow, because I really hoped not to be afraid of him in long games. But it was not to be. After that game, it got worse and worse,” he added.
TEN ROUNDS IN NUTSHELL: Three wins and seven draws helped Magnus Carlsen dethrone Viswanathan Anand as the world chess champion.
We take you through the journey of 10 games in a nutshell.
Game 1: Carlsen started with a Reti opening and it got transposed into Grunfeld fianchetto variation. Anand looked confident, but played it safe despite gaining advantage in the opening. The challenger was happy to take a draw in 16 moves.
Game 2: Carlsen's choice of opening surprised Anand.
The champion chose to exchange pieces and repeat moves. The game ended in a draw in 25 moves. A clever opening selection by the challenger kept Anand's camp guessing for the rest of the match.
Game 3: Carlsen faced some anxious moments in the reversed Sicilian game.
Anand gained initiative by pushing his pawns on the queen side. But Anand's indecisiveness in capturing a pawn gave the challenger chance to hold the champion in 51 moves.
Game 4: Carlsen went for a poisoned pawn in the Berlin defence game and had Anand on the hooks for long.
But the Indian defended brilliantly and survived the rook endgame, where Carlsen had an extra pawn. The game was drawn in 64 moves.
Game 5: In the semi-Slav opening, the Norwegian got some static advantage. But in the ensuing rook endgame, Anand misplayed and lost the game in 58 moves. Despite a harmless opening, Carlsen utilised the minute advantage to score his first win in the series.
Game 6: The anti-Berlin defence game turned a nightmare for Anand, as he struggled to get the previous day's ghost out of his mind.
Despite reaching a theoretical draw rook endgame, Anand fell into a trap and lost his second consecutive game in 67 moves.
Game 7: Another anti-Berlin defence game, where Anand tried to press for some advantage in the opening.
But Carlsen quickly exchanged minor pieces and went for an equal queen, knight and five pawns endgame. The game was drawn in 32 moves.
Game 8: This time, Anand played the Berlin defence against Carlsen's Ruy Lopez.
But the game did not produce any excitement as the two masters traded pieces at regular intervals. They decided to share a point after 33 moves.
Game 9: The most entertaining game saw Anand open with his queen pawn. The Nimzo Indian Samisch variation game got the defending champion a desired attacking position. But an unforced blunder by the Indian helped Carlsen win his third game in the series in 28 moves.
Game 10: Anand made a wrong queen move to lose the initiative in the Sicilian Rossolimo variation game.
But Carlsen failed to utilise it and the resultant position was an equal endgame. But with Anand needing a win to stay afloat, both players kept playing till they reached a forced draw position in 65 moves.