26 July 2012

Anand Approaches an Obscure Lasker Record

In A Positional Lesson from Gelfand/Rubinstein, I translated some notes by GM Gelfand from the July 2012 issue of Europe Echecs. They were on a critical position from the game he won in the recent title match. In the same issue of EE there were no annotations by GM Anand, but there were numerous comments by his second, GM Peter Heine Nielsen. Here are Nielsen's concluding remarks, translated from the French.

It's clear that the press, for the most part, criticized this match. I think this is not justified. During his match against Kramnik in 2008, Vishy triumphed by asserting his attacking qualities. Against Topalov in 2010, there were numerous twists and turns. This time, the progress was identical to that which one sees in other sports at a high level. The two adversaries succeeded in ensuring that the rival could not show his 'best side'. [...]

I would like to address all my respect to the challenger. It was a welcome change to see that he didn't count on some manager for a fruitful harvest. He fought to force his way through the official system of qualification. He put the titleholder under maximum pressure.

Note that Vishy is the only player since Lasker to have beaten four different adversaries in a World Championship match.

'Four adversaries?', you might be wondering. Here are links to the events on my World Championship site: 2000 FIDE Knockout Matches (final vs. Shirov), 2008-09 Matches (Anand - Kramnik), 2010 Anand - Topalov, and 2012 Anand - Gelfand. If we include the 2007 Mexico City tournament, we note that Anand has won the title in three different formats: knockout, tournament, and match.

I have one quibble with Nielsen's observation. According to my page on Pre-FIDE Events, Lasker beat five opponents: Steinitz, Marshall, Tarrasch, Schlechter, and Janowski. Who will Anand's fifth opponent be?

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