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Anand looks to paint it black

For Viswanathan Anand has drawn blood with black pieces in the third game and will have the same colour in the fifth, reports B. Shrikant.

other Updated: Oct 20, 2008 00:00 IST
B. Shrikant

Will Monday be another "black" day for Vladimir Kramnik at the World Chess Championships? For Viswanathan Anand has drawn blood with black pieces in the third game and will have the same colour in the fifth.

"Maybe I will be able to reverse the trend and get things going in the other direction from tomorrow," the bespectacled Russian replied with a wry smile.

"There is no need to panic, I am only one game down," Kramnik said, after the fourth game. Though Kramnik tried projecting a picture of confidence, he must be aware that there are only eight games left of which he will have white pieces in four, including the fifth round. This will be crucial, as Kramnik has never beaten Anand with black pieces. In contrast, three of the Indian Grandmaster's five wins against his Russian opponent have come with black.

So Anand starts work tomorrow with psychological advantage firmly on his side: He not only leads by a point (2.5-1.5) but also is aware that the pressure is on his opponent to force things to a boil. In recent times, contrary to accepted wisdom, Anand has done comparatively better with black pieces.

The 38-year-old Indian maestro has been his usual self thus far - playing risk-free chess, but always ready to exploit open, tactical positions like he did in the third game to rattle Kramnik.

Anand has remained calm under initial pressure - aware that many experts gave Kramnik the edge. He has kept aloof from the media, rejecting interviews barring the mandatory post-game press conference. His responses to provocative questions has been measured and detached. Away from the board, he spends time interacting with his team. He and wife Aruna visit an Indian restaurant at the City Centre, but only on rest days.

Kramnik, too, has kept his distance from the media and all issues are handled by his manager Carsten Hensel. His team of seconds - including Peter Leko of Hungary, Sergei Rublevsky of Russia and Laurent Fressinet of France - is with him here and he is closeted with them.

The Russian will now have to use all his resources in his next few games with white pieces to surprise Anand. Monday will be a key day.