Candidates Chess: Anand goes down to Karjakin, loses India No 1 ranking after three decades - Firstpost
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Candidates Chess: Anand goes down to Karjakin, loses India No 1 ranking after three decades


By Sagar Shah, ChessBase India

Moscow: It was a sad day for Indian fans as Viswanathan Anand lost his fourth round game at the Candidates Championships 2016, held in Moscow, against Sergey Karjakin. It was a clash between the leaders as both Anand and Karjakin were on 2.0/3. With this victory, the Russian player took the sole lead in the tournament. Meanwhile, Vishy Anand is on the joint third position with 2.0/4.

25-year-old Sergey Karjakin is currently Russia’s most talented youngster. He became the youngest chess grandmaster in the world at the age of 12 years and 7 months in the year 2002. He also became the World Cup winner in 2015. In spite of all his accolades and achievements, he has had extremely bad results against Vishy Anand. The two have played against each other 26 times before today’s game, and Anand had won eight times, drawing the rest, with no wins for Karjakin. No wonder, Anand was confident and in a good state of mind before the game.

Anand resigns after 43 moves Karjakin in Moscow on Tuesday. Amruta Mokal

Anand resigns after 43 moves Karjakin in Moscow on Tuesday. Amruta Mokal

The game began with a completely unorthodox move order by Karjakin, who had the white pieces. The second move played by him would not be the choice of a strong grandmaster in such an important game. The reason is very simple – in a game of chess the obligation of playing for an advantage is on White’s shoulders, because he makes the first move. Karjakin, however, was mainly looking to get Anand out of his home preparation.

In chess circles Vishy is famed for his opening preparation. By playing a slightly inferior move order the Russian hoped that he would be able to negate Anand’s strengths. It was exactly what happened. Karjakin did not get an advantage out of the opening but he was able to produce a completely original position on the board which had never been seen before.

Few moves into their Round 4 match at the Central Telegraph Building in Moscow, Anand looks lost in thought. Amruta Mokal

Few moves into their Round 4 match at the Central Telegraph Building in Moscow, Anand looks lost in thought. Amruta Mokal

Vishy Anand slowly but steadily started to drift in the wrong direction. He made a small error with 18…Ba6 and then a bigger one with 21…Qd6. After 27 moves Vishy’s position was so hopeless that the famous chess trainer Mark Dvoretsky, who was present at the venue, immediately said, “This is a highly depressing position for Anand to defend.” Karjakin had full mobility while Anand was restricted. In the final position where the Indian champion resigned, the material was still even, but it would have made no sense to continue. Anand stretched out his hand in resignation giving Karjakin his first victory against the former World Champion.

Karjakin presents his view on his win against Vishy Anand

This victory gives Karjakin the sole lead in the tournament with 3.0/4 points. In the second place is Levon Aronian with 2.5/4. The Armenian drew his game against Peter Svidler. Anish Giri drew his game against Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana botched up a completely winning game to draw against Veselin Topalov. Anand is in joint third position with 2.0/4. With ten more rounds to go, anything is possible. The Indian can definitely turn it around in the days to come. And for that he will have to overcome Hikaru Nakamura in the fifth round with the white pieces.

Anand looks dejected at the post-match news conference in Moscow. Amruta Mokal

Anand looks dejected at the post-match news conference in Moscow. Amruta Mokal

Today was the first time in last three decades that Anand has lost his India number one rank on the live Elo rating lists. With this loss, Anand is on 2763 while Pentala Harikrishna’s live rating is 2763.3. Anand can, of course, become India number one tomorrow with a win but as of today he is in the second place.

Play over Anand’s draw with Levon Aronian on a replayable JavaScript board with in-depth analysis from the author.

First Published On : Mar 16, 2016 16:41 IST

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