press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
For the better part of Game 8, a sleepy, almost uninterested, Magnus Carlsen churned out his well-prepared lines as though he didn’t care about the outcome. His body language indicated he was either short of rest or sleep. In fact, there were moments when it was difficult to tell whether he had fallen asleep or was thinking with his eyes closed.
But his responses were razor sharp and gave nothing away.
On the contrary, the much-older Viswanathan Anand looked keen to make things happen. Showing the energy of a youngster along with the calmness of the yogi, Anand planned his moves by taking his time.
Eventually, the game ended in a draw lasting 41 moves. Here, the time taken by the two players tells the story of their preparedness: Anand, expected to strike with white pieces, took 106 minutes to Carlsen’s 48!
If Anand was not complaining of the game ending in just over two and half hours — following Game 7 that lasted six and a half hours — Carlsen described it as a “good result.”
On way to leading 4.5-3.5 with four games remaining, Carlsen chose the Queen’s Gambit Declined, the opening that led to Anand’s victory in the third game. Where Carlsen scored a psychological point was by choosing the pace to play his moves. With it, he showed that he feared nothing at all on this day.
Consider this. For the first 24 moves, Carlsen took 18 minutes to Anand’s 77. With the position offering very little for Anand to plan an attack, the position stood simplified following a series of exchanges. By the 28th move, the players were left with a knight, a bishop and five pawns each.
When Anand was looking to play his 29th move, the difference in time available on their clocks was one hour! This indicated that Carlsen had set right the shortcomings in the chosen opening.
Significantly, Anand appreciated Carlsen’s choice of playing the rook on the 18th move that probably helped the Norwegian keep the Indian in check for the rest of the game.
Carlsen’s decision to deviate from the much-followed continuation set Anand thinking. In Anand’s words, “thereafter, it (the result) was only symbolic. I knew there is nothing I can do.”
Soon after the game, the players were told about the dope control procedures and whisked away. For Anand, it was the fifth instance of being tested during World championship matches.
Later during the press conference, talking about his play, Anand said, “I did not get a huge amount (from the white side)” and reflected his optimism by adding, “But two games still left to play (with white).”
As the game progressed, Carlsen no longer looked sleepy. He no longer gave the impression that he needed to rest in a hurry. But the position offered very little to the players.
Carlsen revealed, “I was not in the best of shapes. I managed to be fresh as the game progressed.”
Sharing his thoughts on the game, Carlsen said, “it looks a bit risky for black but once I play my rook (on Move 17) there is very little for white to do. But Black still has to be a little bit careful.”
Not surprisingly, the players were looking forward to the rest day.
Anand agreed with Carlsen and said, “as the match progresses, you enjoy the rest days more.”
Without doubt, among the five drawn encounters so far in the match, this one should rank as the most languid.
The only positive that Anand could take from the game was its duration. The early draw gives him more time to recuperate and prepare for the next game with black pieces in Game 9 on Thursday.
Anand (W)-Carlsen (B): 1. d4 Nf6, 2. c4 e6, 3. Nf3 d5, 4. Nc3 Be7, 5. Bf4 O-O, 6. e3 c5, 7. dxc5 Bxc5, 8. a3 Nc6, 9. Qc2 Re8, 10. Bg5 Be7, 11. Rd1 Qa5, 12. Bd3 h6, 13. Bh4 dxc4, 14. Bxc4 a6, 15. O-O b5, 16. Ba2 Bb7, 17. Bb1 Rad8, 18. Bxf6 Bxf6, 19. Ne4 Be7, 20. Nc5 Bxc5, 21. Qxc5 b4, 22. Rc1 bxa3, 23. bxa3 Qxc5, 24. Rxc5 Ne7, 25. Rfc1 Rc8, 26. Bd3 Red8, 27. Rxc8 Rxc8, 28. Rxc8+ Nxc8, 29. Nd2 Nb6, 30. Nb3 Nd7, 31. Na5 Bc8, 32. Kf1 Kf8, 33. Ke1 Ke7, 34. Kd2 Kd6, 35. Kc3 Ne5, 36. Be2 Kc5, 37. f4 Nc6, 38. Nxc6 Kxc6, 39. Kd4 f6, 40. e4 Kd6, 41. e5+ Draw Agreed
(position at the end of the game)
From : The Hindu