World Chess Match Round 1 Anand - Carlsen Draw: Little Tricks of the Two-men Show
The World Chess Championship started on Saturday in the Main Media Center in Sochi. The doors of the Pushkin Hall were opened half an hour before starting the clocks, and in a few minutes many photographs and TV operators lined up in front of the scene. The scene looks unusual for modern times – there is no barrier between players and spectators. The organizers found it unnecessary, because they did many other precautions: the spectators are not allowed to bring any electronic devices, and all radio communication in the playing hall is blocked. Well, at least there are no glass barriers, and it once again feels like a theater, not a zoo with a giant aquarium.
Igor Levitin, adviser of the Russian President made a symbolic first move of the match. Igor Yevgenyevich took it responsibly. Together with the FIDE President and the Chief Arbiter, he arrived at the scene five minutes to three, greeted the players and looked at Anand interrogatively. The former World Champion, who played White, pointed at the e4-pawn. In due time Levitin moved it to e4, then lifted it up and held for a while, looking straight at the spectators in the playing hall. Then put it back to e4, shook hands with the players and returned to his seat. After that Vishy asked Mr Filipowicz to bring the pawn back to e2, and when the clocks were started, played 1.d2-d4 instead. A little trick!
The 7-time Russian champion Peter Svidler, who comments the games in English together with the charming Sopiko Guramishvili, annotated the critical moments of the first game for our readers. The Russian-speaking audience is served by grandmaster Sergey Shipov, who left his colleague Ilya Smirin in Moscow at the Petrosian Memorial, flew south and found a new partner – Alexandra Kosteniuk. A lovely substitution if you ask me!
Carlsen admitted that the opponent surprised him in the opening and praised the idea of bringing the bishop to h3, which secured the c8-square. Anand was asked to comment Radjabov's words, who suggested that Vishy mixed up the move order in the opening. Perhaps he meant that the computer on a shallow depth gives White a big edge after 13.Be2 instead of 13.0-0-0. In Khanty-Mansiysk six months ago Anand would just delicately avoid a direct answer, but here he was firm: “I did not mix up anything!”
Answering about his opening ceremony impressions, Anand burst with laughter: “The magician was great, but I recalled the 1998 Chess Oscar ceremony, when another magician stole my watch!” It happened in Moscow at the Central House of Journalists, and the watch returned to the Indian guest's wrist by the end of the evening...
The Media Center also hosts an exhibition of chess pieces from the Chess Museum, and an exhibition of photographs of chess players. A one-armed robot designed by Konstantin Kosteniuk plays a three-board simul non-stop, and crushes its opposition ruthlessly. The V. Dvorkovich Saloon hosts the junior Tournament of champions, and the Chess Olympiad champion Olga Girya gave a simul.