Trailing by a full point with just two games remaining, Indian chess ace Viswanathan Anand would desperately need a victory to stay afloat against Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in the World Championship match in Sochi on Sunday.
With the scores at 5.5-4.5 in favour of the Norwegian, Anand needs one victory and the Indian will try to achieve it in the last game of the match slated on Tuesday given that the Carlsen will play with white in the penultimate game. The chances for Anand are diminishing with each passing game and the fact that Carlsen has been vulnerable is what’s keeping the Indian going. A terrible blunder by Carlsen in game six had gone unnoticed by Anand and since then the holder has not been pushing too hard for victory.
For the records, the last four games have been drawn with only Anand able to cause some real troubles for the reigning world champion. The ninth game was the easiest of draws for Anand after a 122-move slugfest in the seventh game as black. In the eighth game too, Anand had pressed for an advantage which evaporated once Carlsen found some counter-active measures. In the last played 10th game too, Anand missed a chance to look for a serious advantage and again Carlsen found an easy route to equality.
While this is an unfamiliar situation for Anand, it is much better than the last match against Carlsen in Chennai when at this stage the Norwegian had finished the match by securing the required 6.5 points. Anand needs to find the right balance when his preparation comes good.
For Carlsen the high point of this match has been his going for prepared variations every now and then and one can be sure, he will try to drive Anand out of his comfort zone should the match reach the last game.
Before thinking about the 12th game as white, Anand will have to certainly tackle Carlsen effectively in the 11th game on Sunday after a days’ rest. A loss there will be end of the road.
While both sides have had their ups and downs, Carlsen seems grounded with his one point lead and is unlikely to push too hard in the 11th game. During one of the interviews, the Norwegian had said, “It looks like this match will go the distance.”
For Anand the road ahead is clear. One win and he will be back with a bang in the match. Two draws or a loss, and the hunt to regain the crown will continue.
Its huge advantage for Carlsen, but there have been instances when World championship matches have been decided in the last games.
Russian Vladimir Kramnik had beaten Peter Leko in 2004 match while Gary Kasparov had beaten Anatoly Karpov way back in the last game in 1987 to be crowned the world champion.