Ian Rogers (in The Hindu) on Anand's great comeback after World Championship loss to Magnus Carlsen
IAN ROGERSThe veteran in the eight-player field is turning back the clockLittle more than a month ago, Viswanathan Anand seemed to be in bad shape.The former world champion had just finished second-last in an elite tournament in Zurich and was hyper-defensive about his form and his recent results.A conversation with Anand immediately after the Zurich tournament became a matter of treading on eggshells. Any mention of November’s world title match in Chennai — even a neutral comment about the fine match organisation — was treated as if it were a joke in poor taste. Attempted small talk about the city of Zurich was taken as a side-swipe at Anand’s result in the Swiss town. Only cricket was a safe subject for conversation.In the days after the Zurich tournament, Anand must have been wondering whether his decision to take up his place in the next world championship Candidates qualifier was correct. The venue, a mining town in Siberia, was hardly attractive, and betting agencies were not only giving Anand no chance of securing a world title rematch against Magnus Carlsen, they regarded him as a contender for last place.In the back of the 44-year-old’s mind may have been the thought that the pundits who suggested that he should retire after his heavy defeat in November’s world title match against Carlsen were right.Yet after a month at home in Chennai with his family, the former world champion has rediscovered his mojo.Over the past fortnight at the Candidates tournament in Khanty Mansiysk, not only has Anand proved the doubters wrong, the veteran in the eight-player field is turning back the clock. After 10 rounds Anand enjoys what should be a decisive lead in the elite tournament — a success which would be only his second classical tournament victory in the past six years.Anand started the tournament with a bang, beating world No. 2 Levon Aronian in the first round, a player who had been his nemesis during many of his years as world champion. Since then Anand has slipped into the once-feared persona of the Tiger of Madras, playing quickly, controlling the games, and putting pressure on his opponents.Single secondAnand is working in Siberia with a single second, Sandipan, rather than a team and both seem to have adjusted to the freezing weather admirably.Contrary to advice — which arrived like junk mail after the loss to Carlsen — Anand has not significantly changed his style. Anand’s opponents in the Candidates tournament have frequently provoked sharp battles — unwisely believing that this was the best path to success against a supposedly fading champion — and they have played into Anand’s hands.Not surprisingly, the pundits who were so keen to write off the Indian veteran are jumping on the Anand bandwagon, quoting top 10 Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk who said that the conundrum was not why Anand played so well in Khanty Manisysk but why he played so badly in the period beforehand.A missed chance in the fifth round against tailender Dmitry Andreikin was the first sign of fallibility by Anand, leaving a chasing pack of Vladimir Kramnik, Aronian and Peter Svidler with hopes of spoiling the ex-world champion’s comeback. However, Anand has stayed calm and undefeated while his rivals pushed too hard and lost key games.In theory the final stages of the exhausting three-week tournament should be most difficult for the oldest of the eight competitors. However, at the post-game press conferences Anand has looked as fresh as any of the younger Grandmasters and with four rounds to play Anand appears determined to earn a second bout against Carlsen.Ian Rogers is an Australian Grandmaster and this article originally appeared in The Hindu.
World Chess Candidates 2014 menu: What will Magnus Carlsen get for 'Dinner' in November?
WARNING: This article is strictly for Magnus Carlsen fans. We cannot be sued for offending those in other camps. World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen is a very hungry guy. He is sure to be preparing for a sumptuous dinner this November. Let's just ...
Anand, Carlsen meet again after World Chess Championship: Zurich Chess Challenge begins Jan 29
Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 — The strongest tournament in chess history to date begins Wednesday, January 29 at the Hotel Savoy. This is going to be the first chess tournament in the history of the game to claim a level of Category 23 with an amazing average rating of 2801!Destiny is cruel and chess destiny can be crueler still: The newly-crowned World Chess Champion and his 'victim' Viswanathan Anand will meet again for the first time after the November 2013 World Chess Championship. This will be Magnus Carlsen's first tournament appearance after winning the world title. Anand has already played the London Chess Classic in December 2013 which Carlsen did not attend.The chess greats - Anand and Carlsen - are to meet twice over the board in Zurich not counting the blitz event for deciding the pairings.A blitz tournament will determine the color distribution on the first day (29 January). Five rounds of classical chess will then be played from Thursday to Monday (30 January to 3 February), followed by a rapid tournament with reversed colors on the last day (4 February). We expect a 'respectful' draw between Anand and Carlsen in the classical game without any fodder for the hungry fans or salivating journalists. But, if Anand were to win he would make a point: That he did have the requisite weapons ready in November 2013 itself, but "read Carlsen wrong" as he has commented before. If Carlsen were to win... it's going to be driving the nail back in with greater pain. Anand chess fans, keep fingers crossed. The other players are the Armenian Levon Aronian (2), the American Hikaru Nakamura (3), the US-Italian Fabiano Caruana (6), as well as the Israeli Boris Gelfand (8).This brilliant event, which will take place in the extraordinary familial environment of the ballroom of the Hotel Savoy, has already caught the attention throughout the world and led to the registration of many journalists and top-players, including Peter Leko, Jan Timman and Gennadi Sosonko. Further, the Chinese women's world-champion Hou Yifan will attend this unique occasion and will be playing a simultaneous exhibition with clocks against 6 top Swiss juniors on 1 February at 1 p.m. at the Zurich 'Zunfthaus zur Saffran'.The owner of IGC International Gemological Laboratories», Mr. Oleg Skvortsov, is the creator of this chess event. He not only loves chess, but also plays chess and supports chess events. Furthermore, Mr. Skvortsov knows many of the greatest chess players in the world personally and has played a lot of games with them.A press release states, the Zurich Chess Club is very proud to be the organizer and host of this unique event and it would like to thank the main tournament sponsor and chess-enthusiast Oleg Skvortsov, whose generous contribution has allowed for this extraordinary event to take place! All games will be commented by GM Yannick Pelletier and IM Werner Hug and broadcast live via the Internet.Admission to the classical and rapid games is free, no previous registration is required. Due to limited room capacity, the Opening Ceremony and the blitz tournament are for official guests only. Participants (Elo rating according to FRL of January 2014)Magnus Carlsen (Norway, Elo 2872, Nr 1) Levon Aronian (Armenia, Elo 2812, Nr 2)Hikaru Nakamura (USA, Elo 2789, Nr 3)Fabiano Caruana (Italy, Elo 2782, Nr 6)Boris Gelfand (Israel, Elo 2777, Nr 8)Vishwanathan Anand (India, Elo 2773, Nr 9)ScheduleDaily from 30 January to 4 February 2014.The rounds start at 15.00 local time (CET), except for the last round, which begins at 13.00 CET.Spectators are welcome, entrance free.Main sponsor«IGC International Gemological Laboratories» is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification, man-made/synthetic diamonds and imitation detection, as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation. IGC is the Russian branch of «GCI» a group of gemological laboratories located worldwide.Co-sponsorsAspeco, SurJewel, Savoy Chess Corner, Zurich Chess Club (founded in 1809, the oldest chess club of the world)PartnersHotels Savoy Baur en Ville, Rössli and Seehof in ZurichOrganizationZurich Chess Club -- Rajat Khanna