By Lakhdar Mazouz, FIDE Press Officer, photo by Torstein Behl, Official Photographer
Many had hoped of an equal fight, but so far Anand had outplayed significantly Kramnik. The Challenger said in the press conference after round 8 that he had managed to gain a little advantage in game 8, however it was not enough against the skilful defense developed by his opponent. Will he throw all his forces today to win game 9 and set the Match alive? Can he break the serene and iron solid strategy prepared and successfully practiced by Anand?
Game 9 is maybe the last chance for Kramnik to come back into the Match, although many predict that the Match is already over. A draw will certainly not satisfy him, it will only bring Anand closer to victory. He knows, he has to take all the risks, he has no other choice. All the odds are against him, but who knows; even a desperate situation can be reversed. What will occur? A salvation day or a farewell to the title for Kramnik?
Few hours separate us from the answer.
Today the hall was filling up already one hour before the start and tickets were sold out. The organizer had to add two more rows in the playing hall.
All over people were speculating about today’s result, sympathizing more with Kramnik, hoping for a win on his part so that the fight will continue and the Match gain in new intensity.
In the hall one can feel a kind of electricity in the air. The arbiters seemed more solemn today. Photographers were everywhere to be seen and looked somehow frantic.
Anand played his now traditional 1-d4.
Kramnik, as expected played bravely. The game was very tense from the beginning. The Challenger stated at the press conference that this was his best game so far and that he was pleased with his performance today. He added that he does not give up hope and that he will fight as best he can tomorrow. Anand even admitted that at some stage he was lost. One could notice he was very pleased with the result.
The game ended with a draw. Anand leads with 6 points to 3, just a half point away from retaining the title.