In a clash of titans, World No.1 Magnus Carlsen faced off against Indian legend Vishwanathan Anand when SG Alpine Warriors went up against Ganges Grandmasters on day 2 of the Global Chess League in Dubai. Carlsen prevailed against Anand, playing with white pieces, but his heroics weren’t enough as the Ganges Grandmasters struck back and eventually won the match 11-6 to take the match.
Carlsen and Anand have played two world championship matches and faced each other countless times. This time Carlsen came out on top after Anand complained of a moment of carelessness when he played e6 in his 11th move and later admitted that he should have played e5. Carlsen capitalized this move as he broke into the center, won a pawn, and gradually went on to win.
In the post-game interview, Carlsen and Anand shared their thoughts and impressions on the game and what it means to play one another. "There's always a special touch when we play," said Anand. “It was good to play Vishy but right now I am more concerned about my team,” the world no. 1 said. Carlsen’s concern was well founded as the Grandmasters eventually came back and won the game.
The Grandmasters won the game from wins by GM Richard Rapport, who overpowered Indian teenage sensation GM Gukesh Dommaraju, and GM Bella Khotenashvili, who flipped a losing position into a win over GM Elisabeth Paehtz. Earlier in the day, Carlsen drew against Russian Grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi of the Balan Alaskan Knights in a rematch of the 2021 World Chess Championship.
Wins by GM Irina Krush against reigning women’s world rapid chess champion GM Tan Zhongyi and GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa over fellow Indian prodigy GM Raunak Sadhwani provided the decisive margins to give Carlsen’s Alpine Warriors the match a 9-7 victory. The Grandmasters maintain their top spot after Day 2 while Carlsen’s SG Alpine Warriors climb up to third place with a win and a loss.