The Main Anand - Carlsen Chennai World Chess Match Battle will be in Middlegame: says GM Elizbar Ubilava ~ World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency

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Friday, November 8, 2013

The Main Anand - Carlsen Chennai World Chess Match Battle will be in Middlegame: says GM Elizbar Ubilava

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Friday, November 8, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: Grandmaster Elizbar Ubilava worked withViswanathan Anand for nine years between 1994 and 2005. The 63-year-old Spanish grandmaster of Georgian origin spoke to Times of India about the Anand - Carlsen Chennai World Chess Championship: 

On the favourite
It's natural that Carlsen has been deemed the favourite, being the No. 1 player in the world. But World Championship is a different event demanding specific skills. Ranking spots won't matter much here. Anand has not only the experience of playing many such matches but also special skill to motivate himself. His tournament record of late has suffered a bit. But that's perfectly understandable. For his age, it's quite difficult to recover and be in your best condition tournament after tournament. But for these matches, Anand can motivate himself, he can play strong and show he is the best.

Match expectations
Everybody is expecting a great battle, at least interesting games. I'm not expecting a theoretical battle between Anand and Carlsen. Carlsen is a master of avoiding set lines on the board, special preparation, especially the computer preparation (of opposition). The main weight of battle will be in the middle-game. Vishy doesn't like long games. He prefers to rest and be ready for the next game if it looks like a draw. But Carlsen fights on and I'm sure Anand is prepared for that.

Why is Carlsen dangerousHe is amazingly strong mentally. When asked which facet of chess brings him joy, he had said the suffering of the opponent! Bobby Fischer had spoken on similar lines. His level of resistance in inferior positions is quite high too. I feel Carlsen has not showed his real strength. I have not seen a talent like him, at least in this generation. You look at the history of chess - Alekhine, Capablanca, Fischer, Karpov, Anand - Carlsen represents the first line of chess champions.

Crucial factors in the match
How they react to situations during the championship. Can they surprise their opponent in his preferred opening variation? Once that happens, you not only get the psychological advantage but also more time on the clock because you keep your opponent busy: thinking and guessing. And in some positions, you can use this clock advantage decisively.

Mental toughnessWill their minds be fresh enough? Not only to memorise the prepared lines with precision but also to bring in new ideas to the table. It's not easy to remember everything that you have learnt or seen. Remember Anand himself confessed that he missed a move sequence during his first game defeat to Topalov in 2010. Some of Anand's team members have the experience of handling World Championship matches. But that won't necessarily result in creation of fresh ideas. Sometimes, even less experienced youngsters can come up with good ideas. I remember a 17-year-old helping Karpov with ideas during his World Championship battle with Kasparov.

On the battle of characters
It's not just about the chess, it's about the person - his fighting spirit, his character. During the match both players will face their set of problems. But you have to come back (on the board) and play with your concepts. The computer preparation, home preparation will help only to a certain extent. There is also this challenge of bridging the gap between preparation and memory.

Carlsen-Anand historyThis is an important point. But it works both ways. Both players are aware of a lot of things about each other besides preparation level and habits. Kramnik helped Kasparov during his match with Anand in 1995 and it became important when he went on to dethrone the legend five years later. Even Vishy can use his knowledge about Carlsen but I guess their association helps Carlsen more than Anand.

* More GM opinions on Anand vs Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013