FWCM 2013 Anand and Carlsen Game 7

Games 5-8 certainly added some drama to the World Chess Championship! Reigning champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Magnus Carlsen had played the first four games to draws, resulting in a tie score of 2-2.

The next two games, however, saw Carlsen outwit his opponent, grabbing two wins, and taking a lead of 4-2. Anand’s play was more conservative, while Carlsen continued to prod and push for a win even in situations where conventional wisdom suggested that he should be satisfied with a draw.

Game 5 was long and hard-fought with no clear leader for most of it. Yet Anand faltered in the end-game and resigned after 5½ hours and 58 moves. In game 6, Anand started strong as white and appeared to be winning for much of the game. Again though, his end-game failed after 5 hours of play and 67 moves. “Today is a heavy blow; I won’t pretend otherwise,” Anand admitted after the game.

With half the match over and the champion two points behind, most observers expected Anand to push harder for wins in games 7 and 8. Both, however, unfolded without much excitement—that is, during the games themselves. Game 7, in fact, was almost called for Anand by default. Carlsen only arrived at the board with 14 seconds to spare!

Once game 7 was underway though, the two rivals seemed to be playing lines they had well prepared, and the result was a fifth draw. As Carlsen explained in the press conference afterwards, “What happened in the game was just drawish.”

Game 8 saw balanced positions on each side. The resulting draw after 1¼ hours and 33 moves could only be described as boring. As commentator Lawrence Trent put it, “All very interesting stuff, except that it wasn’t… If you’re in the United States, please go back to bed. If you got up early and you’re in Europe, I apologize for that. It was a rather damn squid.” Said Anand, “It was my job to liven it up. I guess I’ll try it in the next game.”

He’ll have to do that if he intends to catch up. Only four more games remain (barring tie-breaks) and the current score has Anand trailing Carlsen 5-3.

FWCM 2013 Anand and Carlsen Game 7 Press Conference

[images with permission by Paul Truong via Susan Polgar]