Magnus Carlsen is the new world chess champion. The Norwegian, 22, completed a 6.5-3.5 series triumph in Chennai on Friday and won the crown from India’s Vishy Anand, 43, who had held the title since 2007. The $2.2m match was scheduled for 12 games but Carlsen proved dominant with three wins, seven draws and no defeats.
Playing in his home city failed to energise Anand, who has been in a form crisis since 2010 and has dropped to No8 in the rankings. He spent several months before the match in intensive opening preparation, yet did not find a testing method against the solid Berlin 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 which, as Carlsen’s pre-match games indicated, was his main defence to 1 e4.
In hindsight Anand’s missed opportunity and only serious chance to compete in the match came in the first three games when Carlsen was still palpably nervous in an unfamiliar environment. Instead Anand allowed two quick draws, then mishandled an advantage in game three.
The first Berlin was in game four, where Carlsen as Black produced the daring bishop manoeuvre Bc8-e6xa2-b1-f5-c8, snatching a pawn at negligible positional cost. Anand’s defensive heroics halved that but his endgame errors cost game five while game six turned out a disaster. It reached a drawn queen-rook ending where the Indian exchanged queens and was subtly outplayed in the rook ending to give Carlsen a 4-2 match lead. Garry Kasparov then commented that the match was over and the question was only whether Carlsen would win in mininalist style like Anatoly Karpov or in maximalist mode like Bobby Fischer.
The schedule gave Anand another White in game seven but he seemed demoralised and limped to a draw. It was the same again in game eight, which Carlsen played at blitz speed and which lasted barely 90 minutes. Indian journalists at the post-game press conferences were dismayed at Anand’s limp performance and quizzed him about his tactics. He assured them, “I’m doing my best,” but it lacked conviction.
Game nine showed the criticism had stung as Anand came out fighting with a sharp attack on the challenger’s king and a daring idea of allowing Carlsen to queen a pawn with check. But then he blundered tragically, interposing a knight where a bishop move would have drawn. Carlsen’s simple response ensured the challenger an extra rook and Anand resigned
In Friday’s game 10 Anand made more mistakes while Carlsen, needing only a draw, failed to spot a winning move. They halved a knight ending and Carlsen became the second youngest world champion in chess history after Kasparov. Via Magnus Carlsen crowned world champion in 10 games against Vishy Anand