Japanese Grand master Hikaru Nakamura correctly tweeted that now, this Norseman will become more famous than Leif Ericson who got drunk and got lost in the North Atlantic. Applauses were poured at him from every corner of the globe. In the series of celebration, he was thrown into the swimming pool of the hotel, with new cell phone in his pocket.
One of the greats of this 64 square board game, Gary Kasparov, arrived in Chennai to witness history in the making. Due to his long association with the game at the top, he was aware of the outcome. On more than one forum in recent past, he had expressed his preference.
Traditionally, chess had long been dominated by the Russians. With the end of K2 era (Kasparov- Karpov) others, led by Anand, made inroads in the red bastion. Advent of Magnus Carlsen is the coming of fresh breeze form unheard part to the chess world.
Chess world needs a champion like Carlsen to make the game more popular and appealing. Carlsen is only 22. He is the youngest World Champion since Gary Kasparov. Like a smart marketing Guru, he knows all the tricks to sell himself. His management group works all the hours of the day to popularize him as a brand. As a result, he is widely followed not only in Europe, but in India as well. Even in Chennai, people were queuing to get his photographs and autographs.
Before the start of the championship, Vishwanathan Anand was 4th ranked player of the world. Magnus Carlsen landed on Chennai as World no. 1. It automatically made him favourite for the crown. For the first time in 5 years, defending the title was toughest for the Indian.
Anand is known to make quick moves whereas Carlsen is a player who plays with a lot of patience. One more strategy worked in favour of the champion. He always has some fiendish plots to chagrin the opponent. In Game 1, he opened with Reti complex. When Anand opened the game 2 with king pawn opening, he responded it by Caro Kann, the opening he himself had never played for more than 2 years. In game 3 he cornered queen of the Indian. Anand was pushed to the limit in the next but somehow rescued himself. Game 5 and 6 were lost by the Indian. Experts were unanimous that in game 4, 5 and 6 Anand made some mistakes.
Now defending champion was under heavy pressure. Anand opted for Berlin defence in the 7th. He ticked this option again in 8th. Experts were hoping a more aggressive Sicilian opening by him.
Time was running out for him. He fired all cylinders in game 9. It was certainly most lively game of the championship. Anand’s loss in it put curtains to his title defence. In game 10, heavy crossings took place on the board. Game lasted for 65 moves and with only 3 pieces on the board, the draw and final outcome was declared.
Anand and whole India is very dejected with the result. Anand has to regroup his mental strength. Quite innocently, he confessed after the series that he simply failed to understand him (Carlsen) and even himself. Expectations from him now are higher than ever. For the moment, we must salute the star from the land of midnight sun.