Updated November 26, 2014 @ 1920 CST
Some of us in the chess world were hoping for an upset, but Magnus Carlsen secured a victory against Vishy Anand today and retained his title as World Chess Champion at the 2014 FIDE World Chess Championship in Sochi, Russia. The event, which spanned from November 7 to today, consisted of ten games in which Magnus won with a 6.5-4.5 score.
2014 World Chess Championship Cross-Table
Despite the loss, Anand put up a considerable struggle and certainly made Magnus work to retain his title. At times, Magnus has appeared unbeatable on the board, but his recent struggles have underlined his humanity and this is definitely a hard-fought championship title. For Anand, the most devastating part of this competition came in Game 6 when he he missed the now notorious 26…Nxe5! after Magnus’ blundering 26.Kd2. Both players missed their blunders and Anand especially missed an opportunity to turn the tables on the entire tournament.
Game 6 After 26.Kd2??
Safe to say that the Twitterverse lit up after this move with excitement over the Carlsen blunder, but was quickly enraged with Anand’s quick response that proved to be a fatal omen for the former champion.
Carlsen and Anand fought hard in the final game, playing a Ruy Lopez Berlin Defense variation that was very difficult for White to crack, initially. Most impressive was Anand’s 23…b5! pawn sacrifice to grab a significant amount of initiative halfway through the game. However, devastation followed on 27…Rb4??, which Stockfish and Deep Fritz 14 were screaming at during the match. Eventually, the sacrifice was not enough to hold off Carlsen and he secured his place as World Chess Champion for the next two years.
Game 11 after 23…b5!
Russian President Vladimir Putin was on-hand for the closing ceremony in which FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov presented the champion with the traditional wreath and trophy. The closing ceremony was a very formal and exciting event for everyone involved, but perhaps the most exciting part of the ceremony was Kirsan’s announcement that the 2016 FIDE World Chess Championship would be held in the United States of America! There are already speculations about where this event would take place, such as the Saint Louis Chess Club or a venue in New York City. Unfortunately, distrust of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov runs deep within the international chess world, so many chess players and fans (myself included) will not be holding our breath until the first move is made in 2016’s championship match.