Viswanathan Anand plays spectacular game to defeat Levon Aronian in Candidates tournament

India's Viswanathan Anand
Siddharth Parikh

India’s Viswanathan Anand

Indian chess master Viswanathan Anand is back in business after he shook off his nightmarish recent form to beat pre-tournament favorite Levon Aronian in the first round of the Candidates tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, in Russia.

This is a massive scalp and a shot in the arm for the 44-year-old, who entered this match with a dismal 1-5 record against the Armenian.

The Indian wizard, playing with white pieces and pitted against an imposing opponent, played a spectacular match, one that many are regarding as one of the finest of his career. The game was played with such a ferocity that it will likely find a place among the greatest attacking games ever seen in chess history.

Many expected Anand to be on the defensive, and play for a draw at best, given his recent poor form and track record against Aronian. However, things played out differently, as Anand found himself on the front foot with a great chance to drive home the advantage. He admitted the same in his post match press conference.

“When we got to c4 (white’s 21st move) I was surprised how strong my position was; not slightly better but clearly better,” he said.

The script couldn’t have been written any better for the former World Chess Champion, who generally uses his extensive opening knowledge and quick, sharp play in middle games for an upper hand. But yesterday he went on the offensive right from the start, constantly pressuring Aronian before completing the win in 47 moves.

Aronian, who now needs to be wary of not letting the wheels fall off like they did in the previous Candidates tournament in London, was optimistic despite his failure.

“I’m kind of used to losing in the early stages of a tournament. Stats show that I start playing better after I lose one game. So I think this is an important event,” he said after the game.

Anand will now face Veselin Topalov in the second round, who played out a draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in what was the shortest game of round one.

The winner of this 14-round tournament will get the chance to challenge current champion Magnus Carlsen for the title of the World Chess Champion later this year, in November.

Edited by Staff Editor


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