Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Anand half point away from world title

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand is just half point away from retaining his title as he held off challenger Vladimir Kramnik to draw the ninth game of the World Chess Championship here. The draw brought Anand closer to the world title, which he gets to keep on reaching 6.5 points.
The draw in ninth game gave Anand a 6-3 lead with three more games to go in the 12-game Championship final. Anand needs just one draw to win the title, while Kramnik needs to win all three remaining games to send the match into a tie-breaker.
The 45-move ninth game was the second longest after the 47-move win which Anand achieved with white in the sixth game. The ninth game with Anand playing white saw an opening in the Queen’s Gambit declined and in the anti- Meran variation. Kramnik held the stronger position towards the end, but was unable to convert that advantage into his first win. The Indian played the end perfectly to hold the Russian at bay and keep his three-point lead.
Kramnik, who has not won with black in last two years, gave a strong display and did have Anand struggling but the Indian held on. Towards the end, Anand played perfect defence, while Kramnik was unable to squeeze the win he so desperately needed to keep some interest alive in the match.
Anand did make an attempt early to see if he could finish off the match in the ninth game itself having won the third, fifth and sixth games earlier on. Kramnik accepted the challenge and entered the sharp Anti Moscow Gambit Kramnik finally got a novelty in on 12th move. He got a sharp position that gave him a chance to play for a win, which he gladly accepted.
Black (Kramnik) held a good position for long but Anand managed to stay in and draw the game. In the 10th game, Anand will have black pieces. Kramnik needs to win all three remaining games to send the match into a tie-breaker.
The prize money of the championship is 1.5 million Euro (approximately 2.35 million dollar), including taxes and FIDE license fees, and is split equally between the players.

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