Former world champion Vishy Anand has exited the World Cup in Tbilisi in round 2 after his stunning defeat to Texas University (Dallas) student Anton Kovalyov. Anand lost the first game of the two game mini-match when a Knight sacrifice backfired and in the second game the Indian superstar had to be satisfied with a draw.
(Photo by Ootes) Readers will recall that Anton’s is based in Montreal, Quebec since 2007 when they came over from Argentina. Anton changed his federation to Canada in the middle of 2013. Before that time Anton had played for Argentina.
For the past 4 years Anton has been studying in Texas on a ‘chess scholarship’. He is currently working on a master’s degree in computer science, and plays very little in Canada. In 2016 Anton played for Canada at the Olympiad and helped carry the team to one of its best finishes ever. Despite his successes and hard work ethic, Anton is frequently in Canadian chess circles for not doing enough (!) for Canadian chess. Hopefully his achievements in Tbilisi will put an end to this nonsense…
What is next?
Today is a rest day in Tbilisi for Anton, who can now relax, while many others have to play the tense playoffs. The third round begins tomorrow and it is already known that Anton will face the 28 year old Israeli grandmaster Max Rodshtein. , whom I have played in Spain, is a very serious adversary who is on a mission to prove himself in this tournament. Max has been steadily improving these past few years and now is a world class grandmaster who fears nobody. I consider this match to be roughly balanced.
Anand leaves Tbilisi immediately after loss
Former World Champion Vishy Anand lost no time after his second game with Anton and immediately returned to his room, packed his luggage, and headed off to the airport for the first flight back home.
Already some are speaking of an end of an era, but I think this is premature. Anand is still a relatively young man and can still fight for first prize in any tournament that he enters. However, what has changed in recent times is that an entirely new generation of players has arrived that have learned chess by studying players of Anand’s generation! Now it is up to Anand to adapt to exactly the same scenario as he faced when he was first duelling the Karpov’s and Kasparov’s of the 1990s.