Magnus Carlsen asserted his supremacy over Viswanathan Anand for the second year in running as the Norwegian retained his World Championship title after defeating the Indian Challenger in the 11th game on Sunday.
The Norwegian world champion closed the 12-game match with a 6.5-4.5 scoreline, courtesy his win in the penultimate game.
While this may have been closely fought in the eyes of the experts, the fact remains that Anand lasted only one extra game compared to the 2013 match at Chennai when it was all over in the tenth game of the match itself.
For Anand, there were a lot of lessons to be learnt and it is clear that the five-time world champion will probably like to get another shy at the title during the next Candidates tournament.
Anand knew that a draw would keep him in the match but expectedly the Indian ace was not hooked to the idea of staying on till the last game of the 12-game match, and tried to complicate when he got the first opportunity.
When Anand went for the real complications the opinion of the experts was pretty divided out of another Berlin defense game. While the opening discussion continued, Anand was the first to deviate from earlier games in the same opening and in the opinion of Ian Nepomniachtchi, a former second of Carlsen, Anand went for unwarranted complexities.
In the 11th game too, Anand made fewer mistakes than Calrsen and some even opined that the Indian had better chance. As it happened in the game, Anand came up with an exchange sacrifice when according to Grandmaster Peter Svidler, ‘he felt he ought to be doing something’.
As things became clear, the exchange sacrifice was probably not the best of solutions for Anand in a seemingly equal situation and this was what eventually plotted the downfall for the Indian, Anand however regretted his decision to sacrifice a rook for a minor piece.
“It was a bad gamble, and I got punished,” he said. Carlsen on his part remained the calculation machine he is known to be and his super judgement on the position was the critical factor to seize the initiative.
Anand was pretty sure that the position was equal before that but while he was playing objectively till a certain point but took a nervous decision in the match.
Anand could have drawn this and gone on in the 12th game of the match in a must-win situation.
Anand conceded after the match that Carlsen’s nerves held better in this match. But for the experts, it was clear that Anand had his chances which he did not capitalise.
“Taking in to account that all things considered he did better. I did not something better and some things worse,” Anand concluded at the post-game conference.