India Insight

Magnus Carlsen dethrones Viswanathan Anand as world chess champion

World number one Magnus Carlsen toppled local favourite Viswanathan Anand in Chennai to add the world chess championship title to his already impressive resume on Friday.

A draw in the crucial 10th game after 65 moves of play gave the young Norwegian an unassailable lead in the 12-match contest and put an end to Anand’s hopes of retaining the FIDE title he’s held since 2007.

Carlsen, about a week shy of his 23rd birthday, led 6-3 before Friday’s game and needed just a draw to become the first champion from the West since American Bobby Fischer’s reign ended in 1975.

“I really hope that this could have positive effects for chess both in Norway and worldwide,” Carlsen said at the post-match news conference.

Anand, who has slumped to eighth in the rankings, did not win a game in a series billed as the “War of the Wizards”. In this battle of youth and experience that kicked off on Nov. 9, both players started out with draws before the Norwegian won the fifth and sixth games to pull ahead. Anand drew the next two games before Carlsen prevailed in the ninth.

Anand, and India, stand in Carlsen’s path to chess glory

Magnus Carlsen is the world’s number one chess player but that counts for little in India, where he’ll have to conquer local favourite Viswanathan Anand to become the first world chess champion from the West in nearly 40 years.

Anand, the undisputed world champion since 2007, has slumped to eighth in the rankings but has the experience of five world titles to thwart his 22-year-old Norwegian rival. If Carlsen wins the title this month, he’ll be the first champion from the West since American Bobby Fischer’s reign ended in 1975.

Media interest in the 12-game chess series billed as the “War of the Wizards” has been unprecedented, despite reams of newsprint and TV coverage devoted to Sachin Tendulkar’s swansong series happening concurrently in cricket-crazy India.

Anand wins world chess title

Indian chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand retained the FIDE (governing body) world title, laboring to an energy-sapping 6.5-5.5 win over challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in a dramatic final match in Sofia on Tuesday night.

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand of India speaks during a news conference in Sofia, May 11, 2010. REUTERS/Oleg Popov Anand, who comes from southern India, became the first Asian to win the FIDE world chess championship after defeating Spain’s Alexei Shirov in Tehran in 2000.

The Indian maestro, who will receive 1.2 million euros ($1.52 million) in prize money, did enough to put his name in the history book as he’s the first player to have won the world championship in three different formats — knockout, tournament and final match.