Anand on the 2018 world chess championship match

Former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand (right) being interviewed by international journalist Sagar Shah after the 2018 World Championship Chess Match at his home in Chennai, India (Photo: Amruta Mokal)

The renown that riches or beauty confer is fleeting and frail; mental excellence is a splendid and lasting possession. – Sallust (86-34 BC)

By this time, the chess world of approximately 200 countries would have heard that Norway’s Magnus Carlsen has retained his World Chess Championship title. Carlsen was mentally prepared for the Classical, Rapid and Blitz formats of the game. When the 12-game classical encounter was drawn (6-6), he succeeded handsomely in the Rapids where the time is shortened and one has to play more quickly.

Viswanathan Anand of India, a five-time world chess champion, discussed the Carlsen-Fabiano Caruana 2018 World Title Match during an interview recently with international journalist and titled chess player Sagar Shah.

Anand recapped some intricate positions of the match and today I will present one such position with diagram. As an aside, Shah had interviewed the 2018 Guyana Chess team at the Olympiad in September in Georgia.

The diagrammed position (Carlsen-Caruana) represents one from the classical format, and, according to erudite chess analysts and computer analyses, the winning move was 68…Bh4! Instead, Caruana with the black pieces played 68…Nf3 and the game was eventually drawn. Shah asked how difficult was it to find to find 68…Bh4!

Anand replied, “Obviously it was not easy. I haven’t even delved into it entirely. But the piece-up position was not a forced win, which means White could have used his bishop better to corral the knight in some other way. I saw Svidler’s recap of this ending and I have forgotten the details. The funny thing is that Svidler, while doing the recap, was also saying that ‘I have to check my notes and corresponding squares!’ It’s a very difficult ending. But I think I understand the position after …Ng1 pretty well now.” 

Garry Kasparov tweeted: “The computer shows Black wins after 68…Bh4 here. But had Caruana played the incredible 69. Bd5 Ne2 70. Bf3 Ng1!! they would request metal detectors immediately. No human can willingly trap his own knight like that.”

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