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Anand did well to qualify, but he won't win the rematch

User Rating: / 39
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014
By GM Daniel Gormally, England.
Best rating: FIDE 2573

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The Tiger from Madras deserves his shot at Carlsen.

Form is temporary, class is permanent.

This might be a much laboured cliché, but it has rarely been more relevant than when applied to the recently completed candidates and Vishy Anand's remarkable comeback to earn himself another shot at the World Champion who deposed him, Magnus Carlsen.

When I was younger Anand was my favourite player. His smooth positional style was easy to understand, and being a bit of a tactician myself, his ability to grasp any sudden opportunity that could come along was instructive and inspiring.

I recall watching him in London playing Dreev in the semi-final of a PCA rapidplay in the early nineties; although he lost that match, his incredible talent was awe-inspiring to witness. In fact he lost on time in a winning position when desperately trying to queen a pawn; the best move but totally impractical. Perfectionism to the end.

I say "was" my favourite player, because of late Vishy's play has been much more considered, and at times almost tedious, when compared to his halcyon days of the nineties and early 2000's. Perhaps the burden of the title was weighing too heavily on his shoulders.

In any case that burden has gone now, and he was able to play with total freedom in the candidates, in total contrast to his rivals.

Like most I gave very little hope to Vishy actually winning that tournament. I believed that there wouldn't be the incentive to qualify, as he would fear another rout at the hands of Magnus.

But you should never underestimate a great champion like Anand. He is too intrinsically strong to keep playing at the same lethargic level that he has shown for the last few years. Eventually he was bound to wake up. In the event he controlled the tournament from the start, never looking in trouble at any stage.

Looking at the pre-tournament favourites, Aronian and Kramnik, they disappointed. A lot has been made of Aronian's psychological state, and his supposed inability to handle the pressure. I'm not so sure.

It may well be that Aronian was simply out of form. Don't forget that form goes in cycles. Just as Vishy was peaking here, it may well be that the Armenian World number two was suffering a dip. You can't just expect to turn up at a tournament and turn it on, just because it's the Candidates. Aronian will have his chance again.

It's very hard to qualify from the Candidates.  Look at Magnus in the previous Candidates tournament, going into that event you would have said he was a shoe-in to qualify, but in London he really struggled at times and left it to the last possible round. It was obvious he felt the pressure. It's a huge carrot to win, life-changing.

  Even the great Tiger Woods doesn't win every time.

You can also use the analogy of a golf tournament. You might be the best player in the world, like Tiger Woods grinding out results, but your success is ultimately down to consistency. If someone comes along and has the tournament of his life, there's probably nothing you can do. You're not going to win.

The same thing for the Candidates. Anand came roaring out the blocks, and when someone that good is playing out of his skin right from the start, it's going to be a tough few days. Aronian was playing catch up right from the start and that adds extra pressure.

Kramnik struggled for different reasons. I think he was too rusty, and the decision to not play much before the event clearly backfired. I don't believe that Kramnik will retire when he gets to 40, which he has claimed in the past. He's younger than Vishy and has already proved that he can still compete with the younger generation.

So thought will now turn to the renewal of battle with Carlsen, assuming they will find sponsorship for the event.

When doing a preview of the Candidates, I suggested that Anand had as much chance of beating Carlsen in a rematch as England had of winning the World cup.

Anything is possible, but I still can't see any solid reasons why the Indian challenger should turn the form around and wrest the crown from his younger nemesis.

When watching the Candidates press conferences, it was clear that Anand was in much better form than he has been in the recent past. It was like the old tiger again. His mind just works quicker than the average person's; much quicker than most super grandmaster's even.

He can reel off complex variations in a heart beat and divine his way through calculations like a knife through heated ghee; an in-form Vishy plays with great crispness, confidence and alacrity.

Mighty Magnus- utterly ruthless.

But that is where the optimism ends. Unfortunately, he faces in Carlsen an opponent who has no great sentiment or care for the opposition and whatever form they happen to be in; he is simply ruthless, and at the present time is driving himself forward to achieve new goals and distance himself from the rest.

This may well turn out to be Anand's swansong at world championship level. I don't think even he will be able to bounce back from another defeat. But then again I did not predict he'd earn this shot in the first place.

So who knows, he has been proving us wrong for years.

Originally published in GM Danny Gormally's blog

Other posts by GM Danny Gormally:
World Chess Championship Candidates Starts Tomorrow
Players who have quit, or you never hear about anymore
Could you work as hard on chess as Kramnik?
Bobby Fischer vs. Hikaru Nakamura: Theoretical Match-up
Interesting thoughts of Anand in defeat
London Chess Classic Preview
Losing your motivation
Playing blitz chess online & all the computer cheats
Anand-Carlsen borefest continues
Magnus, is this all he has?
A clash of kings
Do we overrate ourselves?
Computers and their all-pervading influence on modern chess
From Russia with love
The England Chess Team & Jack Wilshire
Should the grandmaster title be scrapped?
ECF Book of the Year?
Is being a chess pro worth it - continued?
Is being a chess pro worth it?
An Elitist Game?
Does hard work in chess pay off?
World Cup Final preview
World Chess Cup Semi-Final preview
World Chess Cup Quarter-Final preview
World Chess Cup 1/8-final preview
Why are Russians so good at chess?
British Champs-2013
Ghent and now the British
I'll never be fat again!
Lessons learnt!
The sad case of Borislav Ivanov: Part II
Does Anyone Have a Cure for Anger Problems?
The Depth of Chess
Fundraising in chess
Nurturing a Chess Prodigy
The Sad Case of Borislav Ivanov
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men - Part II
4NCL Impressions: no country for old men
One move, one line - Part II
One move, one line
Candidates Final Review & Preview of Upcoming World Championship Match
Would Carlsen have beaten Capablanca?

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