Anand wins Candidates Tournament, Gets the Right to Challenge Carlsen


Just Loved the Brilliant Live Coverage, well done FIDE

For the last two weeks my evenings were spent mostly watching the Candidates Chess Tournament played in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Online that is, not physically there! And largely on my iPhone. iPad will have been better with a larger screen, but I don’t carry that to the office!

My strategy was to get online only when the games reach midpoint which is when they get exciting! Middle games are when players get into positional attacks, moving away from bookish manoeuvres! That was then from around 6.30pm Singapore time till around 11pm.

Options and Consequences: It was exciting to not just watch the games but also listen to live commentaries and move-by-move reviews from experts. In fact, while players contemplate their moves the commentators who are Grandmasters themselves will analyse the options and consequences – something avid chess fans like me will do as well!

Such an involvement is more than a cerebral exercise, it is a way for spectators to get involved with the games fully.

If Viswanathan Anand had not been on a roll I will not have paid much attention to the live broadcast. He started the tournament with a brilliant win against favourite Levon Aronian of Armenia and remained on top all through.

He won the tournament a little while ago with a round to spare when he drew with Karjakin Sergey and Aronian surprisingly lost to Russian Andreikin Dmitry. If Aronian had won or if Vishy had lost Round 13 the fight will have gone to the wire and the challenger will have been picked only after Sunday’s Round 14.

Post-match press conferences and game analyses were great fun as well, offering us interesting insights and perspectives into what was on the players’ minds as well. Yesterday, after Vishy drew his round 12 match against Andreikin from a winning position he was candid in saying that he was tired towards the end and was not keen to go for the kill.

Vishy’s Russian Proficiency: To a question in Russian, he did not wait for the translation and responded instantly, leaving the host stumped and even making her remark that Anand appears comfortable in the language. “No I don’t really know Russian but I could guess what was on the questioner’s mind,” he said light-heartedly

Critics had written off Anand after he meekly surrendered the world crown to Magnus Carlsen last November in Chennai. He had in fact had been going through a lean patch the last two years making even his diehard fans think that the reign of 44-year-old Anand was over. He was himself not certain if he would play in the Candidates Tournament.

But he proved all cynics wrong, playing and winning the tournament in style. Significantly, he is the only unbeaten player so far. Sunday’s 14th round is only a formality for him, having already won the tournament and emerged as the challenger for Carlsen in the next world chess champion title match to be played in November this year. He plays against Russian Peter Svidler and it remains to be seen if he is able to maintain a clean slate without a loss!

Congratulations, Vishy, for proving to the chess world that you are not a spent force yet, with a chance to win back the world crown from Carlsen!

G Joslin Vethakumar


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