CHENNAI: Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen claimed the world chess title on Friday in emphatic style, dethroning India’s Viswanathan Anand after a one-sided series and becoming the first Western champion since 1975.
The 22-year-old, the current world number one, won three games and forced a seventh draw on Friday to achieve the victory mark of 6.5 points in Anand’s home city of Chennai.
Admitting to some early nerves, which settled after the fourth game, Carlsen told reporters he had sensed vulnerability in his far more experienced opponent and had forced a series of errors.
“Vish has been the world champion for so long, he’s one of the greatest of all time. I’m of course very, very happy to have got the better of him,” Carlsen told a post-match press conference.
“I am really honored and happy to have won it,” he added.
Anand, who at 43 is 21 years older than his rival, lost the title he has held since 2007 despite a last-gasp fight in an attritional 130-move game on Friday that lasted four hours and 45 minutes.
With Carlsen having sealed the championship, the last two contests in the 12-game match scheduled on Sunday and Monday have been canceled.
Both players signed the chess board before heading to a joint press conference where Anand admitted he had “blundered” again in the final game and said sorry to his fans.
“As for the match in general it’s clear that he dominated. At the start of the match I thought my chances depended on my ability to last long games without making a lot of mistakes,” said Anand.
“This year I’ve had a lot of problems with mistakes creeping into my play.” Carlsen will win 60 percent of the total prize fund of $2.24 million, while Anand takes home the rest.
Carlsen, hailed by Russian legend Garry Kasparov as a Harry Potter-type “super-talent” and considered the pre-match favorite, was in supreme form during the fortnight’s contest.
“Congratulations to Magnus for his victory! He continues to shatter the highest expectations with his skill and tenacity. Three cheers!” Kasparov wrote on Twitter after the match.
Carlsen missed by a few weeks becoming the youngest world champion, a record set by his one-time coach Kasparov in 1985.
The last Westerner to hold the world champion title was American legend Bobby Fischer who relinquished it in 1975.
Woman grandmaster Susan Polgar told AFP that Carlsen’s approach had been “refreshingly new” and aggressive, which had bamboozled his far more experienced opponent.
“In the first eight games of this championship match, he forced his game plan onto Anand,” Polgar said… see more