The Norwegian World No. 1 crosses the finish line with a draw in the 10th game
It took close to five hours of pitched battle on Friday to bring an end to the war of pieces.
Needing nothing less than a victory to keep alive the 12-game World chess championship match, a desperate Viswanathan Anand gave it his all. At one point, he seemed to have overreached himself with his 28th move.
Carlsen, for once, missed a possible chance to press home for victory and eventually peace was signed after 65 moves.
The title-clinching draw saw Carlsen justify the tag of ‘firm favourite’, winning 6.5-3.5. The coronation of the new king of chess is likely to be on Sunday or Monday.
Gracious in defeat
Anand, dethroned after holding the crown since 2007, was gracious in defeat. “I think, it is just fair enough to congratulate him. My mistakes just did not happen by themselves. Clearly he managed to provoke them, full credit to him.”
Talking of Friday’s game, the outgoing champion admitted having gone wrong with his queen-move on the 28th turn in his search for victory. “Well, today was the microcosm of the match. I was just trying to keep playing and at some point, I started to make mistakes.
“I simply blundered (on the 28th move). I don’t know the evaluation after that. The knight-ending is very dangerous.”
Looking at the match, Anand said, “It is clear that he dominated. At the start of the match, I thought my chances depended on my ability to last long games without making a lot of mistakes. This year, I’ve had a lot of problems with mistakes creeping into my play.
“And I kind of, tried to pay some attention to that. But in the end, it was in vain.
“The way I lost the fifth game was exactly the way, I thought, I could not afford to lose. A fine position in the opening and then, slowly it slipped and so on.
“The (defeat in the) fifth game was a blow because I had really hoped not to be afraid of him in the long games but simply try to match him. This was not to be. After that, it just got worse and worse.
“Yesterday, at least, was a nice game. Today again. I guess, when it rains, it pours.”
History will record this much-followed world-title clash between the world champion and the world No. 1 as one of the most lop-sided encounters for the title.
Indeed, Carlsen proved that form is more vital than experience. Coming into this match, Anand held a 6-3 lead in head-to-head clashes in classical time-format though Carlsen had won the last two decisive games.
In the past fortnight, Carlsen’s three victories put the players on par with six wins each.
Significantly, Carlsen took his unbeaten sequence against Anand to 21 games, dotted with five important triumphs.
Carlsen, who said it feels good to win the world title, said, “Basically, Game Four gave me a very good feeling. It was a good fighting game. Although I did not manage to win it, I felt I seized the initiative in the match and that he was as nervous and vulnerable as I was.”
He kept modesty aside by saying, “I would like to take some responsibility for his mistakes. That’s for sure. It’s been that way for me for a long time. I just play and people crack under pressure, even in world championships. That’s what history shows.
“You keep on pushing and usually, things go right. Obviously, the blunders that he made, of course, each one of them was unusual, in the sense that those are not mistakes that he normally makes.
“It really has to do with being put under pressure. And really, that’s all that I wanted to do in this match.
“Make him sit at the board and play for a long time.”
Eventually, the match did not last the distance.
The result (Game 10): Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 6.5) drew with Viswanathan Anand (India, 3.5) in 65 moves.