Ever since the year 2015 came, Indian chess fans have been taken by a drought of lacklustre performances from the man who was once recognised as the “King of 64 Squares” from India. The former world champion Viswanathan Anand seemingly failed to overcome the rut and ends the year on a rather poor note.
His ranking did not take a dip; neither did his FIDE rating sink. He ends the year on a poor note because his form has not been so good this year, especially in the second half of the year.
Viswanathan Anand finishes 9th at London Chess Classic
Finishing ninth out of ten participants is not a decent record for a former world champion. It only gets further worse to know that he is the defending champion at the tournament. That is the state of things for the Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand.
Anand succumbed to three defeats at the London Chess Classic and scored 3.5 points out of the nine games he played. He is placed only above Veselin Topalov, who managed fewer points than Anand.
So the big question that comes to the mind is what went wrong with Anand?
A year ago, he was winning tournaments, fighting at the top against all competitors and now he is barely managing to make a mark against the young minds at the competitions.
Let us look at the three defeats that Anand suffered at the London Chess Classic.
Hikaru Nakamura vs Viswanathan Anand (Round 4)
The game was more or less equal but a blunder of a move from Viswanathan Anand saw his Queen being trapped by Hikaru Nakamura.
The seal put on Anand’s Queen meant he could no more use his piece and that acted as a handicap for the former world champion. But Anand did not give up and attempted to create way for himself and change his fortune from the game.Anand had his Queen stuck but that also forced Nakamura to have his Knight and Rook guarding Vishy’s Queen which implied that Nakamura had to deal with Anand under such hardship.
Eventually Nakamura released Anand’s Queen but Nakamura made the most of the situation putting the game in a disastrous position for the former world champion.
Alexander Grischuk vs Viswanathan Anand (Round 6)
The next defeat for Vishy came in the sixth round against Alexander Grischuk of Russia. In this game Anand came out more aggressive. However, Grischuk did not stand back either.
Grischuk penetrated through Anand’s Queenside with his Queen, on the other end Anand almost broke through the castle of Grischuk with his pawn and got into a dangerous position. But the game soon turned the sideways for the former world champion as he played a poorly with his pawns at the end game which almost made certain for a pawn promotion in favour of Alexander Grischuk forcing Anand to resign.
Viswanathan Anand vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Round 7)
The game was quick and lasted only 34 moves. But the game was over way before Anand resigned. Lagrave played sharply and made sure to pick advantage of every error that Anand made. But what was more impressive of the Frenchman, was the way he trapped Anand’s Queen and also made way for a convenient pawn promotion.
However, Anand saw his fate and his King had been cornered. He knew there was no-where to run or hide and thus resigned the game.
The only high point for Viswanathan Anand at London Chess Classic came against Veselin Topalov in the fifth round when he went on to register his only win at the tournament. This win proved critical for the Indian grandmaster as it played the one point difference between Veselin Topalov at tenth spot and Vishy Anand at ninth spot.