World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency: vladimir kramnik

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Showing posts with label vladimir kramnik. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vladimir kramnik. Show all posts

Thursday, March 20, 2014

World Chess Candidates 2014 Menu: What will Magnus Carlsen get for 'Dinner' in November?

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Thursday, March 20, 2014
WARNING: This article is strictly for Magnus Carlsen fans. We cannot be sued for offending those in other camps. 


World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen is a very hungry guy. He is sure to be preparing for a sumptuous dinner this November. Let's just take a look at the likely menu choices as the World Chess Candidates is currently on in Khanty Mansiysk.



1 - Milk and cereal (Viswanathan Anand): Surely this is a tried and tested meal choice for the World Chess Champion. The publicity will be huge as in HUGE for the 'revenge match' - something Anand fans have been fantasising from the very day Magnus Carlsen won the title. Anand will, this time around, do everything he did not do the first time. Also, the home pressure would not be there for the five-time World Champion. Magnus Carlsen can take his already ready prep to the next level. 
Chess Chef's Verdict: Magnus Carlsen will relish this meal choice.

2 - Bulgarian Poisonberry (Veselin Topalov): Very unpredictable and highly dangerous. Only yesterday, Topalov beat Vladimir Kramnik in Round 6 at the World Chess Candidates. They had last met in 2008. Not much is known how Topalov has developed his game in the last few years except that he convincingly won the Grand Prix series to earn that ticket to Khanty Mansiysk. No mean feat by any standards.
Chess Chef's verdict: Magnus, eat just a bit, check, cross-check that it is not poisonous, then chew hard. 

3 - Russian Vodka (Sergey Karjakin): The World Champion is now old enough to replace the orange juice. ;) This should keep the World Champion warm. Karjakin has already been preparing for the Big Title and had even vowed that he would bring the title back to Russia. Carlsen has a slight psychological edge remembering the 92-move win over Karjakin at Tata Steel last year prompting GM Gawain Jones to remark: Carlsen squeezed blood out of a stone.  

Chess Chef's verdict: Magnus, you can stomach this just take it sip by sip (game by game) and follow up with your quintessential sledgehammer style. 

4 - Magnolia Cheese Balls (Dmitry Andreikin): It is unlikely that Andreikin could make it to the world title match particularly considering the standings after Round 6. But, if he does, Magnus Carlsen would have to keep his head down, focus and work just as hard as on any other candidate. 'This very Russian snack' is likely to receive support from every single GM who has ever lost to Carlsen.

Chess Chef's verdict: Keep the orange juice, keep the focus and gobble. 

5 - Borsch (Vladimir Kramnik): The very traditional Russian dish that needs to be kept a day before being served. Kramnik has been there, done that. He would bring the traditional Russian chess understanding and modern killer prep to the table. The match might start slowly, but Kramnik could really go for carpet bombing after a few days into the match. He has, like Karjakin, some scores to settle with a certain Mr Carlsen. Psst: London Chess Classic was it?  

Chess Chef's verdict: Don't rush, eat slowly and carefully. Magnus, your stomach can take it.

6 - Harissa (Levon Aronian): made with coarsely ground wheat and the national dish of Armenia - is said to have helped the Armenians survive during the Resistance of 1915. Aronian has that great power of resistance and he has been World No. 2 long enough to be a logical person to snatch the title from Magnus Carlsen. Aronian has a Saint-Louis revenge to take care of. Strongly grounded chess, loads of talent and the support of a huge fan base thanks to his geniality, Aronian might be a little tough to digest. 

Chess Chef's verdict: Will be a little hard to chew. Sharpen forks and knives (opening prep). Remove Play Magnus from the Apple store. Eat after tearing to pieces (playing long drawn games if required)

7 - Spicy Russian Soup (Peter Svidler): Fireworks, running nose, watering eyes, brimstone and fire could be the result of trying this dish in November. This guy could have helped India write chess history differently. He almost took Magnus Carlsen to the jaws of death at the London Chess Candidates, but for Goddess Caissa's benevolence. Peter Svidler will be supported by the entire Russian Chess Machinery and the Indian Chess Machinery if he makes it to the next big clash. (Don't forget, Svidler is likely to receive support from all cricket fans in India as well). 
Chess Chef's verdict: No worries, just stay your true self - the Magnus Carlsen #1. 

8 - Badambura (Shakhriyar Mamedyarov): The popular Azerbaijani pastry filled with sugar, cinnamon, and finely chopped nuts. Not discounting the European Champion's talent, but he has a tough task to conquer Khanty Mansiysk. If Badambura does get served in November, Magnus Carlsen might be set a record in jumping into swimming pools.
Chess Chef's verdict: Eat platefuls, will add to your muscle power.

In any case, I expect Magnus Carlsen to retain his title!


-- Rajat M Khanna

* For coverage of Khanty Mansiysk World Chess Candidates with daily reports check www.blackandwhiteindia.com
* For detailed profiles of the players check official website
* For a cool video released by Magnus Carlsen today discussing the Candidates check this post at Chess Magazine Black and White
* For reactions, email editor@blackandwhiteindia.com



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chess has become Cool: Nigel Short Summary of Anand, Carlsen Chennai World Chess Championship

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Thursday, November 28, 2013


British Grandmaster (and lots more) Nigel Short's summary of the Anand - Carlsen Chennai World Chess Championship 2013, courtesy Indian Express.  
A champion of his time


Nigel Short

At Chennai, as Carlsen outplayed Anand, the dignified but staid image of the game changed.

As the dust settles on the Viswanathan Anand versus Magnus Carlsen match in Chennai — the biggest chess clash since Bobby Fischer vs Boris Spassky in 1972 — it is time to reflect upon its impact. The immense interest, both in India and abroad, of this most cerebral of jousts, belies the pessimist's view that chess requires Cold War rivalry to be marketable. Indians proudly cheered, and sometimes even prayed, in huge numbers, for their mighty warrior. Alas, it was always going be an unforgiving task for Anand — at almost 44, the oldest World Champion in half a century — to cling on to his crown against someone half his age and already the highest-rated player in history. Time and tide tarries for no man.

Carlsen's victory gives succour to the countless enthusiasts who feared that modern chess was becoming an ever-accelerating arms-race of computer engine analysis. It is hard to recall any World Championship match that has been so bereft of theoretical novelties, as the young Norwegian constantly sought to sidestep Anand's renowned preparation by going down less travelled paths. His simple philosophy was, in essence, "Give me an equal position that you have not studied with a computer and I will outplay you." Call it cocky, if you will, but he was right. Twice, in games five and six, he defeated Anand with the slenderest of endgame advantages, defying the expectations of even the finest experts. It simply does not do credit to Carlsen to say that Anand just blundered. He blundered — yes — but only because he was subjected to constant, nagging pressure. To use a cricketing analogy, Carlsen's style most resembles that of Glenn McGrath — unspectacular, but extraordinarily accurate and effective. Only once did Anand seek to drastically alter the course of the match — in game nine, when he was already on the verge of defeat. From the first move he sought to gain the upper hand by striving for complications. It was the correct strategy and was nearly successful, as he built up an imposing attack. Anand must have felt he had an excellent position. But first, he dithered slightly with an unnecessary rook exchange, and then spent 40 minutes looking for a forced win where none existed. Faced with a resolute, calm defence and the knowledge that the title was ebbing from him, Anand cracked first with a hideous and uncharacteristic howler.

It would be tempting to now predict a lengthy reign for Carlsen. He is well-balanced, from a good family and not in the least bit weird. He is still ridiculously young, but has already dominated the chess world for the past few years. Yet, while I consider the above prognosis to be the most plausible, the example of Vladimir Kramnik, who defeated the legendary Garry Kasparov in 2000, provides a cautionary note. The lack of motivation, bordering on apathy, combined with an unpleasant illness (arthritis), meant that the Russian's play nose-dived in the years following his scaling of the highest summit. With his health recovered, he has, arguably, only relatively recently regained the drive and form he once possessed. Indeed, after playing superbly at the London Candidates back in March, he was edged out of another World Championship match by Carlsen with the slenderest of margins — on tiebreak. Of Carlsen's most likely challengers in 2014, I would say that Kramnik, despite his ripe age (38), will give him the hardest time. Another tough opponent will be the world number two, Levon Aronian (31) from Armenia — although I would still back Carlsen to fend off either threat. Beyond that short horizon, one must look to the next generation — such as Hikaru Nakamura from America (who, on Twitter, perhaps not entirely jokingly, refers to Carlsen as "Sauron" — the evil, all-seeing eye from Lord of the Rings), Fabiano Caruana from Italy, or maybe Sergey Karjakin from Russia.

Undoubtedly the most exciting thing about the Chennai match is the palpable feeling that the dignified but slightly staid image of the game has abruptly changed. With a young, G-Star Raw model as World Champion, chess has become cool. It is suddenly reaching new audiences that had been hitherto untouched by its esoteric beauty. This was most graphically demonstrated by the Norwegian schoolgirls who famously undressed for Carlsen in a moment of patriotic fervour. More seriously, countless international media outlets, that have previously neglected chess, have this time covered the drama in Tamil Nadu.

India may be mourning the loss of a great champion but, when the tears have dried, people will remember that Anand has inspired an entire generation of chess players. The country has gone from being mediocre to being a powerhouse in a few decades, for which he can take much of the credit. As yet, no one is quite ready to step into his shoes but, given the extraordinary and increasing strength and depth of Indian chess, it is surely only a short matter of time. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kasparov wants Carlsen to Win. Karpov has no Clear Preference. Kramnik thinks Anand can Win

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, November 4, 2013

World Champions Three: Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Anatoly Karpov - all of Russia, but of course: Photo: Chessbase.com.

World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: Kasparov backs Magnus Carlsen; Karpov neutral and Vladimir Kramnik think Viswanathan Anand can win provided he does certain things. Here's the verdict of the Big Ks by Rakesh Rao for The Hindu.

“For the greatest part of my life, I’ve been fighting the three Ks — Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik — I have played no fewer than a hundred games with them” — Viswanathan Anand on Moscow Radio in 2009

With less than a week to go for the World chess championship match, fans in over 150 countries have reasons to pick their favourite — champion Viswanathan Anand or World No.1 Magnus Carlsen. Going by form and rating, the majority surely favours the Norwegian.

For now, leave out the lesser mortals.

Here is what some of the Russian greats — Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov and Vladimir Kramnik — who know more about playing for the World title than most, have to say about the clash.

Kasparov wants Carlsen to win. Karpov has no clear preference. Kramnik thinks Anand can win provided he does a few things right.

Kasparov, who helped Anand during the 2010 World championship match against Veselin Topalov, attracted the champion’s ire for being openly critical of him during the 2012 title-clash against Gelfand in Moscow. Since then, Kasparov has offered to help Carlsen to prepare against Anand.

Last month, Carlsen declared that he would be happy to get help from the man under whom he had trained in 2009.

The 22-year-old is 95 points ahead of Anand on the world rating list, but Kasparov has a word of caution.

“There is no such thing as an easy win against the World champion. I think Vishy will be quite happy that he is the underdog. He’s got huge experience. As we saw (in the Candidates tournament in London in March-April) there are problems (for Carlsen), there are still clear problems. The match is for Magnus to lose, clearly, but it’s a 12-game match, and whatever you’ve got from the first nine games, may not count.

“He (Carlsen) has to work on a lot — (on) psychological preparation. His opening preparation should be more precise. Anand is an expert. Those who say that Magnus will win easily are doing him a great disservice.

“It’s all or nothing, and that’s a big challenge. The psychological pressure will just keep growing, and he will have to learn how to cope with it.”

Karpov, another former world champion, has a different take.

“Taking into account historic parallels, I would perhaps support Anand because I have defeated him in the matches twice.

“Although I’ve not been competing (laughs) for the crown for 10 years, it is still pleasant when the guy who sits on the throne has been defeated by you twice. From a self-importance point of view — although it’s not the time to talk about my significance — it’s somehow pleasant.

“I think the appearance of Magnus is a good sign for the progress of chess.

If he becomes the world champion it will give a tremendous boost to the development of chess, especially in European countries. That’s why from the point of view of the future of chess, I would like Carlsen to win.”

Kramnik, who was the only man to beat Kasparov in a World championship match (in 2000) before suffering his only defeat in match-play to Anand in 2008, asserts the champion is not badly placed.

“I believe Anand definitely has his chances. It is absolutely realistic. The only problem, I think, Anand faces is that he — this is just my opinion — is somewhat intimidated by Carlsen. He is scared of him, I would say.

“Anand should relax and not be afraid of Magnus. If Anand manages to prepare himself this way, then the chances will be equal.

If not, then his chances will be very (poor). If he manages to hold the pressure of Magnus for (the first) six games, then Anand will become a favourite in my eyes.”

For all Grandmaster verdics on the Viswanathan Anand versus Magnus Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013 check this collection of posts on our site.

World Chess Championships: Role of Seconds

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog

As the final countdown to the World Chess Championship clash between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen begins, the chess fraternity is abuzz with speculation on who is working with whom as seconds.

But what do the ‘seconds’ do?

For decades now, creating a good team for preparation of an important match is considered as important as the match itself. World champion Anand learned this through immense experience he got while playing matches at different levels.

Anand first played a world championship candidates match in 1990s and has since then worked with many experts.

His seconds have included players like Swedish Grandmaster Ferdinand Hellers, who doesn’t play competitive chess anymore, and Uzbek Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who won the FIDE world championship in 2004.

Garry Kasparov of Russia had one of the best teams in 1980s and till much later as the Russian kept coming out with one opening idea after another stunning his opponents with awesome ease for over two decades.

In 1995, Kasparov defeated Anand in game 10, arguably the turning point of the match through a very famous piece of research work that led to a winning endgame with the Russian spending just three minutes on the clock.

Apparently, this had tremendous impact as Anand was no match in the second half of that match despite leading after game nine.

The role of the seconds is to bring out new ideas, work on them in detail till they are worthy enough to be usable.

It is clear that a lot of work and huge assistance from the computer engines is required for such a job and ironically 95 per cent of the work done remains unseen during the match.

It’s that deep research paper that doesn’t see the light of the day in its entirety and comes out only in patches, when the situation presents itself.

One of the great ideas that Anand produced against Wang Hao of China during the Tata Steel Chess tournament of 2012 was worked out during the champion’s preparation for the match against Russian Vladimir Kramnik at Bonn in 2008.

There have been countless such instances in case of all top players.

The men behind the scene have a lot to attend to not only during the preparation of the match but also when it’s on as they have to be battle-ready to attend to many new facts.

For example, if Carlsen plays something in game one that he has never played before or which the team did not expect him to play, they have to get down to business and start working on it and have a solution ready when the next game arrives.

The champions do not like to divulge information about the people they work as the guess work becomes easier.

If Anand is seen working with the expert of an opening system, it is likely that he wants to play that particular opening very soon.

For the match against Carlsen, Anand has retained the services of his two trusted men the bespectacled Bengal Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland while Sandipan Chanda is the new man in.

There is likely to be a fourth second about whom no information is available as yet. Kasimdzhanov had informed long back he won’t be assisting Anand this time.

Carlsen, on the other hand, has been totally mum on the issue. He was seen playing and sharing jokes with France’s Laurent Fressinet so it is assumed he is one of the team members while Jon Ludvig Hammer, his friend and compatriot will most likely be there.

Speculation is also rife about the presence of Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia who was seen working with Carlsen during some events in the past.

The Carlsen-camp has been expectedly quiet about the team as this might give the opposition camp an idea of what to expect. Much would be revealed when Carlsen lands in Chennai on Monday evening. -- PTI

Friday, September 20, 2013

Doping Tests mandatory for Anand, Carlsen at World Chess Championship 2013 in Chennai

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Friday, September 20, 2013
The world chess governing body FIDE is working closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to prevent and monitor doping in professional chess. While general opinion is divided on the validity of the tests, Fide vice-president Israel Gelfer says the world chess body is a signatory to the WADA code.

“Chess may not be an Olympic sport but we are part of the International Olympic Committee. Our association with WADA and the IOC means that we are serious about doping control,” says Gelfer.

Gelfer told journalists in Chennai so
me time back that the FIDE medical team would monitor the World Chess Championship match 2013 between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen in Chennai as well! 


“Urine samples from both Anand and Carlsen would be taken during the tournament. The medical team has Fide’s mandate to test the players randomly,” said Gelfer.

A doping test was also conducted on both Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand during the World Chess Cha
mpionship 2012. Yes, the tests were negative! A joint press conference to be addressed by Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik had to be delayed and held separately in 2008 because of the doping test. Anand had, at that time said, the dope tests were pointless. Read an excellent article by Bill Wall on the subject.


FIDE has conducting dope tests at major chess tournaments including the Chess Olympiad and the Candidates matches. The official website of Fide also has an advisory section on the subject. 

Grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk had created quite a stir when he had refused to submit a urine sample for a drug test at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden in 2011. However, it later came out that he was so upset over his loss to Gata Kamsky that he did not wish to speak to the chess officials pursuing him after his "heartbreak". A nice article on the entire 'scandal' at Chessbase.

Drug tests were first conducted at international chess tournaments in 2001 with WADA categorising chess as a "low risk sport".

Endurance is extremely necessary in long chess matches. Despite not being a sport like football or athletics, doping could be used by a chess player to maintain alertness and delay exhaustion. Chess games at top tournaments are normal to go from five to six hours in men's professional chess. 

Gelfer told journalists, "Chess has a long way to go before becoming an Olympic discipline because in many countries it is not considered a sport. But proper doping control methods will help the cause of the game in the long run.”

Fide Handbook

Chapter 14 - Doping and Drug Use

14.1. FIDE, in close collaboration with the National Chess Federations, the International Olympic Committee and the National Olympic Committees dedicates its efforts to ensuring that in chess the spirit of ‘Fair Play’ prevails, leads the fight against doping in sport and takes measures in order to prevent endangering the health of competitors. FIDE has accepted the World Anti-Doping Code and its international standards. Within FIDE the body responsible for this policy is the Medical Commission.
14.2. The Commission will agree from time to time, with the International bodies, on the list of prohibited substances and methods of doping that are applicable to chess players. The Commission will be responsible for the Anti-Doping regulations and their execution.

The Fide medical commission is entrusted with the following tasks:

  • The MED shall organize anti-doping control in the major FIDE Events, at the request of the Events Commission, the Commission for World Championships & Olympiads and after consultation with the PB. 2.8.2
  • The MED shall prepare anti-doping regulations for the approval by the GA and shall enforce them when duly approved. 2.8.3
  • The MED shall advise and inform the PB on anti-doping matters. 2.8.4
  • The MED shall appoint a representative to be present at all events where anti-doping control is carried out. 2.8.5
  • The MED shall make recommendations and propose amendments, as it sees fit, in its field of competence.


Chess WADA – Anti-Doping Policy, Nutrition and Health
The 2013 WADA Prohibited List and Monitoring Program can be found at: http://list.wada-ama.org/

The most relevant banned substances for chess are:
• Amphetamines – e.g. Adderall, Ritalin
• Ephedrine and Methylephedrine – Prohibited by WADA when its concentration in urine is greater than 10 micrograms per milliliter
• Pseudoephedrine is prohibited when its concentration in urine is greater than 150 micrograms per milliliter

Substances not present on the Prohibited List but represented in the Monitoring Program:
• Caffeine – Included in WADA 2013 Monitoring Program and relevant for in-competition testing only. Any test reading of less than 400 milligrams poses no problem.
• Codeine – A common ingredient in, for example, preparations used to treat coughs and stomach upsets. Any dosage is highly unlikely to be significant when taken in normal therapeutic quantities.

Psychopharmacological Cognitive Enhancement The notion of ‘cognitive enhancing’ drugs has gained periodic attention in the media and it is clear that such pharmacology has the potential to be of benefit in chess, an essentially cognitive sport. Modafinil, Adderall andRitalin are potentially implicated.

Modafinil is primarily prescribed for the treatment of shift work sleep disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness – its main function is to improve wakefulness. However, it has been seen to produce apparent cognitive enhancement effects in healthy non-sleep-deprived people though it is unclear whether these effects are sufficient or durable enough to consider it to be a cognitive enhancer.

Whilst Modafinil has been shown to improve some aspects of working memory, such as digit manipulation and pattern recognition memory, the results related to spatial memory, executive function and attention are equivocal.

Adderal and Ritalin are primarily prescribed for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Adderall is primarily a mixture of four amphetamine salts whilst Ritalin is a psychostimulant with some structural and pharmacological similarities to cocaine.
Magnus Carlsen's views on drug testing

World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen had aired his views to Associated Press (as carried by VG Nett) in 2011 on the subject of doping in chess when FIDE had announced that Carlsen would be part of a pilot project on dope testing for chess players. 

Carlsen said, "For me it is unthinkable to do such a thing, but it's not a big deal." 

"If I have to report where I am all the time, I'll have to think more about it. I could get used to it, but it seems quite unnecessary."

But does he think it is possible to take restorative pills to enhance one's performance? "I suppose that is possible. But in order to perform well you would have to take things during the game. For my own part I need no hocus pocus in order to perform."

Does he think that some players are using doping? "In the end I simply trust my opponents. In addition, it is so incredibly damaging for people to be taking drugs. Maybe some are doing it. But I think I can beat them anyway." 

On Ivanchuk's case, Carlsen said, "It was unfortunate that this happened after he had lost Ukraine medal in the final round. On the other hand he obviously should have been professional enough to handle it."

On the Lance Armstrong doping scandal that revealed the seven-ti
me Tour de France winner's activities, Carlsen said, "He not only cheated, but also pushed others into doping, using extortion to keep everything under wraps for many years. I think it's possible to forgive people who cheat and get caught, but the way he kept on with it means he deserves the hard fall."

Well, for now we're sure neither Viswanathan Anand or Magnus Carlsen would be held for doping in Chennai at the World Chess Championship 2013. Their powerhouse chess play doesn't need any drugs -- it's enhanced already ;)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

World Chess Championship 2014 Candidates: Who Could be the Players?

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Saturday, August 17, 2013
Destiny has thus decided: Once friends, now rivals, World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen will take on World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand in Chennai this November. But, what about the rest of the chess elite? They will have to now focus on the eight-player World Championship Candidate matches of 2014. It's not that early to think about the Candidates 2014, is it?

The loser of the Chennai World Championship 2013 match automatically gets a slot in the World Championship Candidate matches of 2014. Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik are the other two who already have a slot because of their top ratings. The FIDE statue defines this as: The next two highest rated players who played in the Chess World Cup 2013 or the FIDE Grand Prix 2012–2013 (average FIDE rating on the 12 monthly lists from August 2012 to July 2013). Then, the organisers of the Candidates would get a wild card entry option. Since it is already rumoured that the Candidates 2014 could be in Russia, maybe Sergey Karjakin would get the organisers' wild card slot.


The World Chess Cup being held in Norway with a field of 128, in Tromso, Norway, from 10th August to 3rd September will offer the top two an entry into the World Championship 2014 Candidates as well. The FIDE World Chess Cup (World Cup) is an integral part of the World Championship Cycle 2012-2014.

Also, the six-event Grand Prix will offer two more candidates. After the already-played fifth leg in Beijing, Veselin Topalov has won the Grand Prix and qualified to the Candidates. One more Grand Prix event is left to be played in Paris in September. This would give the other candidate from among Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Fabiano Caruana, or Alexander Grischuk who all have a chance of qualifying if they pull off a clear win in Paris.

After the Candidates 2014, we would know who would challenge the winner of the Anand - Carlsen match. But, that's a long way off. First, onwards ho to the Anand-Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013 at the seaside venue of Chennai.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

World Chess Champion Five Times: The Anand Timeline

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Viswanathan Anand, the reigning World Chess Champion, has held the top title five times. He was crowned thus in 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012). He has remained the undisputed World Champion since 2007 and was also the FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion in 2003. Here are brief write-ups on each of the five times the 'Tiger from Madras has won the World Title:

World Chess Championship 2000: Viswanathan Anand won the title for the first time after beating Spain's Alexei Shirov 3.5-0.5 in Tehran. He became the first Indian to win the title. However, Anand failed to keep his title in 2002 when he lost the semi-finals (tournament format) to Vassily Ivanchuk. The title eventually went to Ruslan Ponomariov thus making him the youngest world chess champion ever at the age of 18. Later, in 2005, Veselin Topalov became the FIDE World Chess Champion, 1/5 points ahead of Peter Svidler and Viswanathan Anand who both tied for second place with 8.5 points out of 14 rounds. 




This World Championship was hosted in New Delhi and Tehran. The first six games took place in India from November 27 to December 15. The final took place in Tehran from December 20 to December 24. World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov criticised the format of the event and took FIDE to court!

The title was, at this time split. So, both the recently-crowned Classical World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik and the previous World Champion Garry Kasparov (the World No. 1 at that time) did not take part. 

World Chess Champion in 2007: Mexico City hosted a double round-robin eight-player format from September 12-30 to decide the world champion. Anand won with a score of 9 out of 14 points which included four wins and 10 draws. He remained the only unbeaten player at the event. 
This World Chess Championship was unique because it was based on the tournament format instead of a match. The previous edition of the championship in 2005 had also been a round-robin event, but the title was split at that time with a Fide World Champion and a Classical World Champion. Classical champion Vladimir Kramnik refused to take part in 2005. Eventually, the 2007 tournament was to unify the title. Fide also decided that the world title from 2008 would be in match format.

In 2000, when Anand had won the FIDE World Chess Championship, the rival 'Classical' World Chess Championship title held by Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. The title was eventually unified and Anand became, in 2007, the first undisputed World Chess Champion to have won the title from a tournament format since Mikhail Botvinnik had in 1948.

Viswanathan Anand had said, in October 2007, that the double round-robin format was good and Kramnik's right to automatically challenge him was "ridiculous".

World Chess Championship 2008: The match format returned and Anand beat Kramnik in Bonn, Germany during a held from October 14–29. The rules required the first player to score 6.5 in 12 games to take the title. Anand amassed the points in 11 games which included three wins from the first six games. Two of these wins were with Black. Anand had a lead with 6–4 and required one draw from the last two games. 



World Chess Championship 2010: This match was versus Veselin Topalov in Sofia, Bulgaria. Anand and his team had a tough time even getting to the venue. The Frankfurt-Sofia flight on April 16 was cancelled due to the ash from volcano Eyjafjallajökull. The entire Europe was hit. Anand wanted a three-day extension, but the Bulgarian organisers refused. Anand still made it to Sofia on April 20 logging a 40-hour by-road journey! The match began a day later than scheduled. 



The World Chess Championship 2010 included 12 games. The score was tied with 5.5 each after 11 games. Anand went on to win the 12th game with Black and retained his title. 

How Veselin Topalov came to be the challenger in this match is a story by itself. Fide, attempting to unify the title, announced that the World Chess Championship 2007 would be an eight-player tournament including the 2005 FIDE World Chess Champion, but not the Classical World Chess Champion. Later, a so-called 'unification match' was organised between Topalov and Kramnik (2006 World Title Event). Kramnik won and Topalov could not qualify for the 2007 World Championship. However, in June 2007, FIDE decided to announce "compensation" for Topalov in the form of privileges to Topalov allowing him to take part in the 2009 qualification cycle giving him direct entry into the Challenger's match. Topalov took on Gata Kamsky for this Challenger's match as the latter had won the Chess World Cup 2007. Thereafter, Topalov beat Kamsky and became Anand's challenger in Sofia..

World Chess Championship 2012: Viswanathan Anand defended his title next in at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. He took on Boris Gelfand who had earned the right to challenge him by winning the Candidates Matches 2011. 


The match went to a tie after 12 games with six points each. Both had one win each and the other games had been drawn. Anand retained his title by winning the rapid tiebreak by 2.5–1.5. Anand had lost the 7th game, but returned to beat Gelfand in the 8th game in 17 moves – making it the shortest game in any World Chess Championship ever.