Magnus Carlsen pulled off a win over his two-time World Chess Championship nemesis Viswanathan Anand and held Ian Nepomniachtchi, the man he beat to the world title in 2021 in the same city, to a draw on a packed Friday in the Global Chess League, which saw four games taking place.
After the frantic day of move-making had ended, Anand’s Ganges Grandmasters were on top of the standings with 21 game points and six match points. Balan Alaskan Knights, headlined by Nepo, are second in the league.
The signature game of the evening arrived early, when Carlsen prevailed over Anand.
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“I was very careless. I was not fully together… There’s a special touch (when I play against Carlsen), but when you play as often as we have against each other it’s hard to make every single one special,” chuckled Anand after the game while standing next to the Norwegian world no 1.
“It was good to play Vishy. But to be honest, I’m more concerned about what’s happening in the match,” said Carlsen as both sets of eyes — his and his Indian opponent’s — kept darting at the giant TV screen on the side to look at the other scores of the game.
Despite Anand’s defeat, his side, the Ganges Grandmasters, managed to salvage an overall 11-6 victory over the SG Alpine Warriors.
In an earlier game, Carlsen found himself facing off against Nepomniachtchi. It was a return of sorts for the Russian, who lost a see-saw world championship battle to. Ding Liren earlier this year.
“I should say something like it was very good to be back on the board. But, in fact, I’m not sure. I didn’t play any chess for about a month. So for me it was a bit of a new feeling playing over-the-board chess again,” said Nepo whole talking about the game against Carlsen.
“But the game was quite boring: drawish lines and drawing patterns. It’s good for the team that I didn’t lose,” he added.
Sunday will see four games in another action-packed day in the GCL with the Triveni Continental Kings and Balan Alaskan Knights playing two games each.