November 22, 2013

The Magnus Effect!

"As another World Championship comes to an end, here is what it meant to me..."

Bharathi Ramaraj tells us about the Anand - Carlsen World Championship Match, as it took place in her hometown, Chennai. Here you can read about Chess, media, players and much more. A personal report.

The Magnus Effect

By Bharathi Ramaraj


 It was made sure every Chennaiite knew about the upcoming match. The news coverage , the back-to-back tournaments, the decorations ,the Giant Chess Board on the Marina…well, it rained chess and I gladly soaked in it! 


My least favourite part.
The press conference, it was more entertaining than informative. The players tried to be polite,but they had their limits. Sarcasm , fun , hilariousness and plain stupidity were the adjectives tied to the press conferences.

Just a word :No sportsman would be worried about Sachin’s retirement or on promoting the game when he had had double losses and just lost his Crown.

Do not tease a wounded tiger. Humanitarian reason : It  is simply cruel to do that. But , factually, its not wise. A tiger is a tiger.Its been wounded not dead. Don’t be surprised when it retaliates.


Watching GMs Susan Polgar and RB Ramesh and the IMs Lawrence Trent and the Indian chess queen as she is often called , Tania Sachdev , was fun. Analysing the game , guessing the moves , getting surprised or being shocked after a move along with the commentators was a part of the deal. For a non-chess player , it would have been a complete course  on what chess was and is to the GMs.


I cannot not mention the growth in twitter and facebook activity during the course of the match. Players sharing their views , moves and opinions  : it was like another commentary team, only something that consists of most of the best in the world. Sometimes , when the games were slow I had more fun reading the tweets and posts by the players and their arguments! What will I do now?  

BLOGS , ARTICLES , yada, yada….

Millions of articles , news scripts , blogs, posts bloomed. But then few of them were a part of the match deal for me . Reading through GM Parimarjan Negi’s satirical articles  or Sagar Shah’s appealing posts, it was always a pleasure. When the games got boring , you could trust on these to keep us interested : the former to entertain;  the latter to beautify .

To add to the gala, Susan Polgar’s and IM Saravanan’s inside scoop on the world championship…well..who can say no to this? Cheeky quotes, behind the scenes, moment of the day…You got it all

Finally , THE GAMES ….what can I say? Really…what can I say?

Before game 1 , Magnus wasn’t the only one biting his nails in anticipation. The mystery of the opening choice , of the strategies to  be used, of the style of play was intriguing.

And then the games began.

First two games were short draws. A little disappointing but who cared. Still ten rounds left.
Next  came Game 3. Anand gained the upper hand leading to an interesting game which unfortunately ended in a draw again, but again, no one cared.Beecause, now the World Championship had really begun.

Then came the GAME :  Game 4. Magnus’s guts made  everyone go awe , so did Anand’s resourcefulness in defending. On twitter this was what was happening :

GM Hammer : Guts (Bxa2), calculation (a5) and technique (g6). Game on, Vishy!
IM Saravanan : Challenge (Ne2), Resourcefulness (Nb5) and Fightback (Rc4) - Ofcourse, Magnus!
And ofcourseGM Giri : Nerves (Rf4+), nerves (Rf8), nerves (0.00).

The game which had me glued to the screen. Hailed by many , praised by all, the level of play just set a different standard of expectation.

Then came game 5 and 6 :  A completely disappointment for Anand’s fans but a joy as always to watch Magnus’s precision. He is World No.1 after all.

Game 7 and 8 were short draws. First reaction , if I were Anand , I would have been more aggressive. But then , I would probably lost my third game in a row. After all, he’s the genius here, not me. Better trust his judgment . The guy did hold his title for five years.

Then Game 9. It was good start. Anand was doing good.It was a great game and then Nf1!! Was ready to believe anything from Transmission Delay , hallucination , to Carlsen hypnotizing Anand ( I did think of it for a second ) than accept that Anand actually played it. A monumental disappointment. Then, realization struck.

It was time. The wind had changed directions. Anand’s time on the throne was up. It was time for the younger Challenger to face the responsibility.The Crown was being passed with/without his choice from Anand to Carlsen , like Peter Pevensie to Prince Caspian  , like Great Master Yoda to Young Luke Skywalker , like Elrond to Aragorn.

     Then Elrond and Galadriel rode on;
 for the Third Age was over and the Days of the Rings were passed and an end was come of the story and song of those time

Game 10: A Sicilian, Finally. And then, well, Magnus plays for a win. It becomes interesting. Magnus’s calculation precision is wow-ed and then , the end. A draw.
Magnus Carlsen had officially won the Championship. What I felt :
I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
The Crown has passed hands. The King dethroned. A New King raises to take the throne.
Above all shadows rides the Sun , 
and Stars forever Dwell, 
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell

As I think about writing this article , my college bus passes  the Hotel Hyatt Regency. If Chennai is Chess’ Mecca , then right now, Hyatt is the Shrine. Tears fell in respect because it was here that history was made!
For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”