Sports stars and government leaders in Norway were all hailing Magnus Carlsen after he won his first game against defending world chess champion Vishy Anand on Friday. The victory was important, following four draws since the championships began.
Carlsen himself was grinning from ear to ear and called his victory “veldig deilig,” a Norwegian expression that’s about as nice and satisfying as can be. He beat Anand after more than five hours of play, and after commentators said he’d forced Anand to make a mistake.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), which is broadcasting live coverage of all the games in the World Chess Championship in Chennai, India, reported that Anand otherwise has been playing a brilliant defense. But on Friday he made a critical error under great pressure from Carlsen, who saw his opportunity and pounced. After around five-and-a-half hours, Anand reached out his hand to concede defeat.
“It was good to break through,” Carlsen told NRK when it was all over. NRK’s commentator Torstein Bae claimed victory was achieved in classic Carlsen style. “He got things just as he wanted them,” Bae said, after an aggressive start. “It was very even for a long time, then Anand makes a mistake and Carlsen is on him at once.”
‘What a guy!’
Prime Minister Erna Solberg was quick to send off “Yes!” via Twitter, and social media was full of similar accolades Friday afternoon. Former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, wrote that “You said it was tougher than you thought. The greatest victories are the ones you’ve worked the hardest for. Congratulations!”
Top Norwegian golfer Suzann Pettersen, who’ll be playing this weekend for a major golf title herself, wrote: “Let’s cheer on my fellow Norwegian, chess player Magnus Carlsen in his chase for the World Championship!” Rally star Petter Solberg, a former world champion himself, also joined the cheering squad: “Congratulations to my compatriot Magnus Carlsen for an impressive win in today’s World Chess Match! What a guy!”
Play resumes on Saturday, with the sixth of 12 games. The first one to get six-and-a-half points wins, and the score is now 3-2 in favour of Carlsen.