Anand is still the king,defining all that is good and great about chess in the post-Super K age
At Moscows State Tretyakov Gallery,where Kazimir Malevichs immense,intense painting Black Square hangs,Viswanathan Anand made his move,king to b2,a black square incidentally. A handshake from challenger Boris Gelfand then sealed Anands sustained supremacy over 64 squares. For the fifth time,four of them consecutively since 2007,Anand is the world chess champion. It is the kind of enviable longevity at the top of the game that the Russian greats were blessed with,down to Karpov and Kasparov who ruled the 80s and 90s. But Anand and his game stand for all that is good and great about this post-Super K age,when chess has broken out of Soviet stranglehold and become a more democratised sport,when grand masters walk with databases of millions of moves stored in their heads and pen drives,snapping at each others heels.
Anand has been at the cusp of this change and now defines the new order in chess with the strength of his character and the array of his pieces. The match against Gelfand may have seen only little bloodshed,with both reluctant to go past their preparatory databases,but it saw some spellbinding deftness Anands win in Game 8 was in 17 moves,the fastest ever in championship history. And unusual acts of grace he supported FIDEs decision to scrap rules stacked in favour of the champion. For instance,earlier if the match was tied,the champion would retain the crown.
Chess is an exquisite summoning of the past,of masters and matches. But it is the manoeuvre of the moment that counts,opening move to endgame. Anand,with only a faint heirloom in chaturanga,has charted it out for himself,move after extraordinary move,and what a finale it has been.