Sochi (Russia): India’s Viswanathan Anand pulled off a sensational victory over world chess champion Magnus Carlsen on Tuesday in the third game of the ongoing world title match at Sochi, springing back from his disappointing defeat two days ago to restore parity in the 12-game match.

From the beginning, Anand took the fight to Carlsen and seized the initiative very early in the game. His playing style on Tuesday was reminiscent of former world champion Gary Kasparov’s in a 1995 world championship match in New York.

This was Anand’s first victory over Carlsen in the classical format of chess in about four years. The last time he beat the world champion was in a tournament in London in December 2010. Earlier this year, he had beaten Carlsen once in the rapid, or a shorter variant of chess.

“I am very happy...but there’s still a match to play," Anand said after the game.

After being completely outplayed, a visibly disappointed Carlsen said things couldn’t have gone worse for him. “The key is to avoid being self-destructive (going forward)," he said. “I have recovered from losses in the past."

But this is his first loss in a world title contest. In Chennai last year, when he dethroned Anand as world champion, the Indian grandmaster only managed to secure seven draws in 10 games. Carlsen won the rest.

Anand, widely seen as playing defensively, didn’t survive the full length of the 12-game match last year, and lost in only 10 games. He staged a comeback earlier this year and secured the right to challenge Carlsen again.

Anand’s playing style on Tuesday was reminiscent of former world champion Gary Kasparov’s in a 1995 world championship match between the two in New York.

After a deadlock of eight draws in the 1995 match, Anand had surged ahead by winning the ninth game, but in the very next game, Kasparov dealt a killer blow with homework.

He swept away Anand’s defence, playing at lightning speed to equalise in the 10th game. That game was later seen as the turning point of that contest, following which Anand was no match for Kasaparov.

On Tuesday, Anand spent only about 31 minutes on his first 23 moves and by then he was already calling the shots.

“He was very well prepared," Carlsen said, admitting that it was “a bad choice of opening". “I could have done better perhaps but it was very difficult," he added.

Once in the driver’s seat on Tuesday, Anand played patiently as Carlsen tried to complicate matters. To tighten his control over the game, he neutralised the world champion’s attempts to create counter play and eventually won in three-and-a-half hours.

“Just a fantastic game from start to finish by Anand," US grandmaster and one of the world’s best, Hikaru Nakamura, said on Twitter.

Though Carlsen is still seen as the favourite, this match is widely predicted to be a much closer contest than the one in Chennai a year ago.

Susan Polgar, a Hungarian-born US Grandmaster who was live tweeting the match, said in a tweet that “the mistake Magnus made... is that he got into a theoretical line against Anand. (He) usually stays away from it."

Scottish Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson said in a tweet that Anand’s game showed a “powerful opening, precise calculation, good technique, excellent time management."

“He played, dare I say it, like a world champion."

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