Viswanathan Anand is a relieved man now. After losing game seven, he thought he had blown up the title.
But the immediate win in game eight boosted his morale that he held his nerve to defeat Israeli GM Boris Gelfand in the world chess championship series held at Moscow.
“This is the toughest world championship match that I have played so far,” Anand told Deccan Chronicle over phone from Moscow.
“I will give 10 out of 10 for this match. While I rated my match against Vaselin Topolov at 9, this series was really tougher,” he added.
“I barely got through this one. I cannot think about the next one. It will take some time for this title win to sink in,” said Anand soon after the match.
Noting that he never felt like a favourite especially considering Gelfand’s form since 2009, Anand said he always had an impression that it would be a tough match.
With preparations more or less balanced, Anand said, the Israeli GM was trying to win every game but he was careful enough not to do anything insane.
“The problem in tight match is that you face an incredibly heavy blow after a loss. I was extremely fortunate to come back in game eight after the loss in game seven,” he added.
On the crucial game 12, Anand said, he played an interesting idea but then Gelfand had a great equalising chance.
“The tied result after the regular games was a reasonable situation. Maybe tiebreak was the only thing that could separate us,” he added.
“Things really went by my way today. I was under pressure. I won because I won,” said Anand, adding that the match was tantalising but he held on to dear life.
“After game seven loss, I couldn’t sleep. I thought I had blown up the match. Even though I would have fought till the very end, the win in game eight boosted my morale,” he added.
On former world champion Garry Kasparov’s comments that the Indian GM has lost spark, Anand said, he doesn’t think it is relevant especially while playing a world championship.
“When I am playing for a world championship, I don’t really bother what other people are saying about me,” he added.
Meanwhile, Israeli GM Boris Gelfand hoped that the momentum gained in his country due to this world championship match would be sustained. “Chess should be upgraded to better position in Israel.
In my country, people think chess players should have another profession. I only hope this match kindled the aspiration of professional chess players to lead a happy life in Israel.
I will be happy if this match motivates thousands of children to take to chess in Israel,” he said.
Sign up for my free email chess course for Beginners and Club Players. In this free course, I focus on helping beginner chess players see the entire board. You will learn how to attack your opponent from move 1 and create a new threat with every single move! I’ve created this series of lessons designed to help beginner and club level players understand the game at a deeper level so that you can start beating higher rated players immediately. Start getting free tips from me directly to your inbox!
– GM Susan Polgar