Kramnik – Anand in psychological battle

World Chess Championship 2008

Two draws — one tame and the other a bit hard-fought — was an expected start to the World chess championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik.

After the first two games of the 12-game match the score stands at 1-1 and following the first rest day today, the battle will resume tomorrow.

If the first game saw Kramnik resorting to safety-first-approach and conceding an easy draw despite playing with the slightly favourable colour in the game, Anand’s tactic to unsettle the Russian with the queen pawn opening did not yield desired result and the Indian had to resort to safe-play.

As a matter of fact both players have had there share of success in the first two games. If the first game belonged to Anand who got an easy draw with black playing Slav defence, Kramnik was in his element in the second game to keep the Indian at bay.

The way the first two games have been played, the chess critics are already in full swing.

With 10 games remaining in the 1.5 million euros championship, Anand might well be happy to continue playing the Slav and Kramnik will have to look forward to something better than the ‘Exchange variation’ if he is looking to dent the confidence of the Indian in anyway.

The first move of the second game by Anand not only took Kramnik by surprise but also the entire chess fraternity.

While Anand has played Queen Pawn openings on a few occasions in his career, his pet first move for ever has been the King pawn and when he uncorked the surprise it had a telling effect on many especially amongst the supporters of Kramnik.

There is already speculation that Anand has prepared the Queen pawn and this is what he is likely to play in this match. However, an expert-eye has a different opinion.

It is impossible that Anand has abandoned the King pawn opening that has served him so well for nearly three decades. The choice of the opening in the second game was in fact not a difficult guess if one takes in to account the psychological factors.

It was natural that Anand wanted to test Kramnik in what the latter least expected. This was clearly a step towards unsettling the Russian who himself just relaxed and launched himself almost unnoticeably in the first game by going for a tame opening.

If the ploy is any indication, Anand is likely to repeat the Queen Pawn move on his first turn at least once more in the match. But that will be after he and his team comes up with some good method to counter the Nimzo Indian defense.

So far there have been expected surprises, the chess world is eagerly waiting for the unexpected ones which are likely as the match progresses further.

Report: Zeenews

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