A chess world championship match attracts interest far beyond the circle of tournament players and keen amateurs. Chess is played all around the globe, and most countries worldwide are members of FIDE, the international chess federation. The general stature of world championship matches and the clash between the experienced reigning and many time World Champion Anand from India, and the young western challenger Carlsen dominating tournaments and being the no 1 rated player in the world, may be key features explaining the broad interest in the match.
Within the chess world itself, a widely discussed feature of the match is the difference between matches and tournaments and the focus on and importance of opening preparation in matches.
After each rest day we have seen a remarkable change of direction in the course of the match. The first two games were cut short by excellent opening preparation of the player with the black pieces although Anand could maybe have played on in both games. In the next two games, the contestants exchanged blows in 50+ moves hard fights.
Black again was more than fine, and only tenacious defence saved white.
In game 5 and 6 opening preparation played less of a role and we saw two long technical endgame fights. By continuing to pose challenges to the reigning champion, Magnus managed to win both games!
Friday Magnus got a small but clear edge after the exchange of queens due to the black pawn island weaknesses. Anand defended very well and would probably have saved the game if he had chosen Ra1 instead of Rc1+ after the time control.
As white yesterday Anand played a novelty 10.Bg5, and with ideas centred on the bind on f6 and the potential knight outpost on f5 he continued to try to put pressure on Magnus in the middle game. With the black Breyer knight manoeuvre Nc6-b8-d7, the open a-file and the queen on e6, the white initiative fizzled out. Sensing that Anand was vulnerable after his game five loss, Magnus chose to vigorously pursue his miniscule queen and rook endgame advantage. After Anand played h5, the ensuing rook endgame looked drawish despite Magnus.s two extra pawns, but by giving up three pawns (!) Magnus managed to win with his f-pawn in the end.
In what he described as .a healthy lead. in the press conference after game 6, Magnus is up 4 points against 2 halfway through the match.
The enthusiastic Norwegian contingent in Chennai is growing, and several Norwegian chess players have arrived already. We are looking forward to more Norwegians coming to Chennai next week. This includes representatives of Arctic Securities and the other main sponsors of Magnus.
Today is a rest day. In the second half of the match, the order of the colours are reversed, and Anand once again has the white pieces in game 7 Monday.
For Team Carlsen, Henrik C., Chennai, November 17th, 2013