An Indian journalist in the post-game press conference began his question to World Champion Vishy Anand, “you played e4 to thunderous applause from the young chess fans in Chennai…”, but in terms of excitement it was downhill from there in Game 2 of the World Championship match. Magnus Carlsen surprised his opponent with his reply, Anand chose a cautious line of play and after only 25 moves the players had again drawn by repeating moves. As chess24’s GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov points out in his analysis, however, Carlsen’s choice would actually have been “a risky opening experiment” - if Anand had been ready for a sharp fight.
Although the chess in Chennai is yet to burst into life the anticipation around the match has long since reached fever pitch.
Whether Magnus can match Vishy’s numbers with a billion Indians behind him is doubtful, but he’s gathered attention not usually devoted to chess players!
The one place the studious atmosphere hasn’t taken hold is
among the scrum of photographers fighting to capture the players’ expressions at
the start of each game.
chess24’s Rustam Kasimdzhanov knows exactly what a World Championship match means after being an integral part of Vishy Anand’s team for his three victorious matches. Who better, then, to point out exactly what was going on in an apparently bloodless encounter:
Definitely a surprise! After getting nothing with White in Game 1 Magnus shows some prep with Black. Curiouser and curiouser...
3... dxe4 4. ♘xe4 ♗f5 5. ♘g3 ♗g6 6. h4 h6 7. ♘f3 e6 Not the main move, but in fact Magnus is following Anand-Ding Liren from a couple of months ago. If Vishy had expected the Caro-Kann at all this would have been a dangerous experiment...
14. ♕e2 brought him success recently, and one wonders what Magnus prepared here. 14... 0-0⁉ might be ok for Black. (14... c5 15. dxc5 ♕c7 16. b4 0-0 17. 0-0 a5 18. a3 1-0 (32) Anand, V (2783)-Ding,L (2707) Paris/St Petersburg 2013) 15. f5 ♗d6 16. fxe6 fxe6 17. 0-0-0 ♕c7 18. ♖he1 c5 looks messy.
15. ♔b1 c5 16. ♗e3 ♕c7 17. ♘e4 ♘xe4 (17... ♖ad8 18. ♘xf6+ ♗xf6 19. ♕e4 ) 18. ♕xe4 ♘xe5 19. fxe5 (19. dxe5 ♖fd8 0-1 (48) Inarkiev,E (2693)-Eljanov,P (2702) Poikovsky 2013 20. h5 ) 19... cxd4 20. ♗xd4 ♖ad8 21. g4 ♗c5
c) 15... c5 Probably the best move.
c3) 16. ♗e3! White exerts some pressure and Black has to tread very carefully.
b) 21. ♗g5 Black has enough play here as well. 21... b5 (21... ♖af8 22. h5 b5 23. h6 b4 Amazingly enough, White doesn't seem to have any threats even here... What happened to chess? 30 years ago it would have been checkmate :)) 22. d5 ♕a1+ 23. ♔c2 ♕a4+ 24. ♔b1 cxd5 25. ♕xe6 ♕e4+ 26. ♔c1 ♖e8∞
18... cxd5 19. h5 b5 20. ♖h3 a5 21. ♖f1 ♖ac8 22. ♖g3 ♔h7 23. ♖gf3 ♔g8 24. ♖g3 ♔h7 25. ♖gf3 ♔g8 A comfortable draw for Magnus, but it really was a risky opening experiment. 15. Qf3!? seems to pose problems, but Vishy doesn't look ready for a sharp fight just yet... Let's see what the future brings :)
The reaction of chess fans to a second short draw at the start of the match was predictable:
Of course every cloud has a silver lining, as another top Indian grandmaster pointed out:
The press conference was mildly perplexing as Anand and Carlsen appeared to think a possible continuation to the game (18.Qg4 f5 19.Qg6) - suggested by both Rustam above and powerful computers - was bad for Black, but perhaps the most "memorable" moment was when the players were asked if they were going to watch the Arsenal - Manchester United football game that evening. Anand was but wasn't sure if he'd switch off his computers during it, while Carlsen replied in the off-hand manner we've become accustomed to from the young star.
Yeah, sure, now that you mention it.
Let's hope that after tomorrow's first rest day the players return in the mood for a real fight!
We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines. Some components of our site require cookies or local storage that handles personal information.