Magnus Carlsen arrived in Chennai last Monday for the World Championship match against reigning champion Viswanathan Anand. Going on the inspection trip in August was definitely a good idea, the arrival experience and general impressions were as expected for Magnus and his team. The sisters and mother of Magnus on the other hand, felt quite stunned by all the new and intense impressions.
After two days at a resort south of Chennai, Magnus arrived at the playing venue Hyatt Regency on the 6thof November. The 7th was quite busy with technical meeting, players meeting, press conference, a well-orchestrated and impressive opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, and finally the welcome banquet at the hotel.
It is fair to say that so far Indians have been hospitable and the organizers and hotel staff have made every effort to make Team Carlsen feel comfortable in Chennai.
Our impression is that the press interest and coverage have been huge in general. This is certainly the case in India and in Norway.
Combined with the long preparatory stage leading up to the match, not surprisingly both players were eager to get started on the 9th.
Going back in history, the first game in their first World Championship match has been difficult for the challenger on several occasions. To mention two players, Petrosian in 1963 and Fischer in 1972, both lost the first game and went on to win the title.
Magnus was caught out in his preparation in game one, and as he pointed out at the press conference, he reluctantly had to pull the emergency brake. Anand was maybe slightly better already, but he decided to force a repetition of moves. Magnus could not deviate without being worse or lost, and the game was drawn after 16 moves and 90 minutes only.
Amazingly game two finished even faster, although 25 moves were played.
Anand went 1.e4, it used to be his regular opening before he introduced 1.d4 in his match against Kramnik in 2008.
Magnus managed to surprise Anand with the Caro-Kann (1.. c6).
Anand deviated from his game against Ding Liren earlier this year, and played 15.Ne4. Magnus exchanged knights followed by Queen to d5. This was another critical junction, at which Anand decided to trade queens instead of the sharper continuation Queen to g4, and forced a draw a few moves later with Rh3-g3-f3-g3-f3.
Not surprisingly Anand looked less confident today, while Magnus was quite satisfied with the game.
Monday is a rest day. On the 12th at 3pm local time, Magnus has white in game 3.
For Team Carlsen, Henrik C., Chennai, November 10th, 2013