Viswanathan Anand is having a solid 2016. The five-time world chess champion came third in the Candidates tournament, won the Leon Chess Masters Rapid tournament in June and finished joint third in the Tal Memorial.
On Monday, the 47-year-old won the Champions Showdown tournament in St Louis, holding off the challenge of Americans Hikaru Nakamura (US) and Fabiano Caruana and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.
“Winning in St. Louis was wonderful. I was focused on consistency. I have been enjoying a good run in the past couple of months,” Anand told HT.
Anand won seven games and his only defeat came against Nakamura, which he attributed to time trouble.
“The main challenge in St. Louis was getting used to three different time controls. One cannot accumulate time. Once you get into time trouble, you are under severe pressure. I had defended the position well but was under time pressure.”
‘Trying not to analyse’
Anand endured a prolonged slump in 2015. After strong performances at the start of 2015, Anand did not perform well in the Sinquefield Cup, World Rapid and Blitz Championships and in other tournaments.
Anand said, “I endured a slump after Norway Chess 2015 which lasted for some time. I try not to analyse too much on those performances,” he said.
The start of the World Chess Championship between world No 1 Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin coincided with Donald Trump’s election as US President.
In the first game, the Norwegian champion set the chess world abuzz by employing the Trompowsky opening, which is phonetically close to the name of US President-elect.
Anand said the Trompowsky attack was rarely used. “It’s not a new move. I used the Trompowsky during my championship game with Anatoly Karpov in Lausanne in 1998. It’s not a common attacking move in the world championship.”
Anand is closely following the title clash. “Magnus put some pressure in the first two games but Karjakin has a strong defence. However, one cannot win chess games by simply defending. Karjakin must attack,” he said.
The 12-game series is tied 1-1 after four games.