September 2013 ~ World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Viswanathan Anand 16th on Sportskeeda List of 50 Most Influential Sports Personalities of India

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Sunday, September 29, 2013
World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand has been ranked 16th on the Sportskeeda List of India’s 50 most influential sports personalities. The list included a cumulative score including a Power Rank and an Inspiration Rank. Anand was 10th in the Inspiration Rank List and 31st in the Power Rank list. 

Sportskeeda is the largest All Sports website in Asia, covering news and opinions about over 50 sports. It has a footprint of over 2.5 million readers every month, with a vision to be the largest online Sports Community. It boasts of some of the best Sports writers in the world, while unearthing their worthy successors from its fan base everyday through crowd-sourcing.

The judges' panel stated: Who are the movers and shakers of Indian sports? Compiling a list of the 50 most influential sports personalities in India is a task that is as difficult as it is divisive. Which is why Sportskeeda left it to the experts to decide.

The sports personalities in the country were evaluated on the basis of the following two parameters:

1. Inspiration - Popular sports figures who have brought their sport closer to the masses and inspired renewed interest in it.

2. Power - Individuals with authority who have used their power to further the cause of Indian sports.

After a panel full of industry experts voted for the sports personalities in the country which, in their opinion, fulfilled the above two criteria, the final list of 50 was arrived at.

On No. 1 was India's Captain Cool, MS Dhoni followed by Sachin Tendulkar, Bhaichung Bhutia, Rahul Dravid, MC Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Abhinav Bindra, Anil Kumble, Pullela Gopichand, PT Usha. For the full list you can check the Sportskeeda website.

The judges' panel included:

Aayush Dabas (DGM – Marketing, Rhiti Sports Management)
Akshaya Kolhe (Director – Sales, ESPN Digital Media India)
Amit Chacko Thomas (Managing Director, Game On Sports Management)
Amrut Joshi (Founder Partner, Gamechanger Sports Ventures)
Ankan Banerjee (Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management)
Arup Soans (Managing Partner, QSport Media)
Ashok Nath (Founder, Catalyst Sports)
Baljit Rihal (Founder Asian Football Awards / Licensed Players Agent, Inventive Sports)
Debayan Sen (Sports Commentator and Broadcast Consultant)
Dhruv Ratra (CEO, Anglian Holdings)
Hakimuddin Habibulla (Founder and Principal Consultant – Sports Performance, Winning Matters Consulting)
Hemant Dua (CEO, Inspiranti Sports)
Jay Shah (Director, Sports Gurukul)
Kanishka Saran (Vice President, SPT Sports Management)
Kashif Siddiqui (AVP – Strategy & Alliances, KOOH Sports)
Lokknath R Char (CEO, Lokko Sports)
Mackinlay Barreto (Managing Partner, Boomerang Sports)
Madhukar Jha (Co-founder , Pitch Invasion New Media)
Maneesh Bahuguna (CEO, Anglian Medal Hunt)
Mazhar Ahmed (Managing Director, v2v Media & Sports)
Mukul Choudhari (Director, Academy at Manchester United Soccer Schools)
Neerav Tomar (MD & CEO, IOS Sports & Entertainment)
Niranjan P (Vice President – Operations, Celebrity Cricket League)
Nirvan Shah (CEO, PIFA Academy)
Parminder Gill (Co-founder, EduSports)
Prabhu Srinivasan (CEO, KOOH Sports)
Prantik Mazumdar (Managing Partner, Gamechanger India)
Premdeep Gangadharan (Director and co-founder, Fans On Stands Sports)
Puneet Mehra (Vice President, KOOH Sports)
Rahul Teny (AGM – Strategic Planning, McDonalds India)
Raj Dam (Founder, QuizWorks)
Ramakrishna Kalluri (CEO,
Sunny Narang (Chairman, Anglian Sports Management Group)
Saumil Majumdar (Co-founder & MD, EduSports)
Siddharth Pandey (Founder & CEO, LEH LEH Sports)
Sukhvinder Singh (Managing Director, Libero Sports India)
Vaibhav Tandon (Head – Research and Analysis, Olympic Gold Quest)
Vasanth Bharadwaj (Founder Director, TENVIC)
Vishal Jaison (Director – Sales & Business Development, Total Sports Asia)
Vivek Pathak (Chairman, Cue Sports India)


Sportskeeda Intro

Viswanathan Anand

Inspiration rank: 10
Power rank: 31

The biggest name in Indian chess by a mile, world champion Viswanathan Anand has repeatedly upstaged his Russian counterparts to rule the board for more than half a decade.India probably owes it to Viswanathan Anand for transforming chess from a hobby to a full-fledged career opportunity. Hailing from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the first chess grandmaster from India started on his road to world domination in his teens; so much so, that he was awarded the Arjuna Award at the age of 16 and the Padma Shri at 18. Since then, Anand has won the World Chess Championship five times (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012), and has also won the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. He is the first and only sportsperson to ever win the latter award. He has been the undisputed world champion since 2007, and was also ranked world number one for a total duration of close to two years. While he still plays chess professionally, Anand is also on the Board of Directors at Olympic Gold Quest, a company that promotes and sponsors Indian sports. He also launched the MindChampions’ Academy in association with NIIT in Kolkata to promote chess in schools.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Carlsen Chess Story: Grandmaster Simen Agdestein Tells it all from Up Close

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Saturday, September 28, 2013
I am glad to be married to someone who has beaten a future world champion!
-- Grandmaster Arthur Kogan on his wife's defeat 

of 10-year-old Magnus Carlsen in 2001

Quite aptly the beginning of Chapter 3 of How Magnus Carlsen became the youngest chess Grandmaster in the World - The Story and the Games by Simen Agdestein. 

We are just a few weeks away from that prediction possibly coming true as Carlsen takes on reigning World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand for the top title.

However, whatever be the result this World Chess Championship in November, every chess lover worth his pawns knows that Carlsen will eventually win that top title. Carlsen is already the human with the highest-ever rating and the next human in second place is at least 70 points away. 

Agdestein's chess-biography-plus-games book is a toast to this sweet-genius chess flavour of the season (era?): Wonderboy Magnus Carlsen.

Written in a simple, fluid style peppered with biographical incidents, chess training events, updates on tournaments plus key games in the Carlsen trajectory make this a must-read book for all chess lovers. It's not about wins alone. There are the disappointments, the confusions, the hard work and above all, the sacrifices of the Carlsen family in giving their little boy the best environment to grow in. Simen Agdestein (left) writes it all with great sensitivity telling a real-life tale just as it is: without hyperbole, without critical evaluation.

Then, there are those anecdotal gems like when Carlsen wants to know "Why do people ride horses?" 

As a chess biographer, Agdestein's craft is perfect making The Carlsen Story so inspiring: Magnus has had various external goals but his true aim is to master the game and develop as a player - besides the obvious desire to continue to enjoy playing chess. This creates a different focus. The degree of success is not necessarily measured in points and final placings but rather in how much one has learned.   

Carlsen is a New Age chess philosopher as Agdestein explains, "Magnus still plays chess because it is fun. He has been allowed to frolic and do what he likes best of all, namely, play chess. But if this pleasure should turn in another direction, that will be fine."

The book is arranged chronologically. We follow Magnus and his fantastic journey from when he began to play with chess pieces at the age of five.

The book need not be limited to those who know how to play chess well. It is available to a wider audience, quite like how Magnus Carlsen has figured on front pages of newspaper and in television news headlines worldwide instead of just in the sports sections. 

Agdestein says, "Many fine games are included in the book. I have tried to annotate these so that they can be easily understood, n the hope of making them accessible even for those who have only a limited knowledge of chess. The games illuminate the story but the  book can be read independently of them... for those not so familiar with the chess world, a small chess glossary in the back of the book explains the most common terms."

The book ends with the FIDE World Championship in Tripoli, Libya 2004 where Carlsen was knocked out. The lovely photos in the book are in black and white. But, you cannot miss the book. Particularly not if you believe that chess genius need not be the impact of laboratory training and solitary confinement cut off from reality. Talent can be nurtured with wisdom and a balanced lifestyle for any youngster. That applies to every skill. "Carlsen is the result of a fine environment and a mindful family."

Agdestein trained Carlsen in the years leading up to his Grandmaster title and repeatedly marveled at his pupil's amazing progress. Agdestein himself is a most remarkable double talent. Not only did he win the Norwegian national chess championship six times, but he also used to be a highly gifted football player. He played for Lyn FC at Oslo and represented the Norwegian National Soccer Team on eight occasions.

Even if you don't read the book now, we're sure you'll be desperate to read it after November ;)

Also Read: Carlsen got Kasparov's database of 20 Years' Work: Exciting New Book by Agdestein Releasing Sept 16

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Magnus Carlsen Chess Analysis, Programs Stored on Europe's Leading Internet Provider Basefarm Cloud

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Guess where World No. Magnus Carlsen will store all his chess computing data and chess programs? Do you know Carlsen's chess analysis and research cannot be stolen even if you rob him of his laptops?

The super chess talent from Norway has all his valuable chess data stored on the cloud via a cloud storage service provided by Basefarm. This is also because processor requirements for handling chess data and analysis are beyond the capacity of a regular computer. Getting help from the Basefar
cloud server not only saves times, adds speed to analysis, but also helps Carlsen keep his chess data safe and accessible from anywhere in the world. That includes India - for the World Chess Championship 2013 versus Viswanathan Anand.

Carlsen said, "To be absolutely sure that I anytime and anywhere can access chess programs provides a sense of security in preparation." says Carlsen.

Basefarm CEO Bjart Kvarme said, "This is very exciting for us. When we received the request from Magnus and his team, we were in no doubt that this was something we wanted to be part of."

"We are convinced that the quality of our cloud services can help Magnus achieve success in India and become the first western World Chess Champion since Bobby Fischer," said Kvarme.

Basefarm is a leading hosting provider for "mission critical business applications". They provide complex technology solutions, high-end cloud services, application management and colocation from six datacenters in Europe. With their +300 members of staff, they host more than 35,000 services reaching over 40 million end users in 23 countries. (Courtesy Basefarm official Oslo office Facebook page)

Here is the third part of a special chess training video series featuring the best moments from the World Chess Championship 2012: Viswanathan Anand vs Boris Gelfand in Moscow, Russia. This instructive video is by special arrangement with Grandmaster Igor Smirnov and we hope it gives you tips and tricks to improve your own chess. Don't forget to tune in at our site for the remaining parts of this chess training series. Hope you did not forget to watch the first part and the second part.


Monday, September 23, 2013

World Chess Championship 2013 Mobile Apps, Official Website Announced

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, September 23, 2013

Chennai: Chess fans will be able to keep track of the World Chess Championship match 2013, between Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand and World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen to be held in November, with mobile phone applications for latest updates.

The All India Chess Federation (AICF) has given out contracts for the develop
ment of mobile applications to provide match updates and these would be available free of cost on game stores, AICF CEO Bharat Singh said on Monday.

In the first-ever World Chess Championship being held in the country, Anand, playing before home crowd, would defend his title against the Norwegian challenger.

"Mobile applications are being developed for iOS and for Android phones and are expected to be ready by mid-October. Live video of the tournament is also being arranged. One can get the app from all game stores free of cost," Singh told reporters.

Speaking after releasing the official logo of the November 7-28 tournament, Singh also announced the start of sale of tickets for the much-awaited contest, through

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa had chosen the official logo of the championship, AICF secretary V Hariharan said.

AICF chairman JCD Prabakar said Jayalalithaa had made special efforts for conducting the event in the city, where the Indian chess wizard grew up.

AICF is also organising 'Chennai Chess Blitz' in Jawaharlal Multipurpose Indoor Stadium between November 7 and 28 for various categories. --PTI

FIDE UPDATE The official website for the much awaited FIDE World Chess Championship 2013 between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Magnus Carlsen is fully functioning as of today 23rd September 2013. The official address of the FIDE World Chess Championship is The championship will also be covered on various social networks as Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.
The World Chess Championship 2013, organized by FIDE and AICF, is sponsored by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Main partners of the most important chess event of 2013 are Hyatt Regency Chennai (hospitality partner), Delhi Chess Association (ticketing partner), and (global news partner).

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:

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 ;)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Anand vs Gelfand 2012 World Chess Championship: Best moments Chess Training Video Part 2

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Thursday, September 19, 2013
Here is the second part of a special chess training video series featuring the best moments from the World Chess Championship 2012: Viswanathan Anand vs Boris Gelfand in Moscow, Russia. This instructive video is by special arrangement with Grandmaster Igor Smirnov and we hope it gives you tips and tricks to improve your own chess. Don't forget to tune in at our site for the remaining parts of this chess training series. Hope you did not forget to watch the first part.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Carlsen's Live Twitter, Facebook, Blog feed/Nordic Semi: Towards World Chess Championship in India

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) had recently announces that they were sponsoring Magnus Carlsen, the youngest player to be ranked number one in world chess and the highest ranking points holder in the history of the game, in a three-year deal.

Nordic have also just launched a cool Carlsen update website that will have his live blog feed, Facebook feed and Magnus Carlsen's twitter feed. The title reads: 

Towards the World Chess Championship in India

Nordic will be there.

Click on screenshot above to visit the website live feed of chess talent Magnus Carlsen.

Despite World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen's stratospheric chess performance at the recently-concluded Sinquefield Chess Cup in Saint Louis, and despite his highest-ever chess rating for a human, World Champion Viswanathan Anand can just not be underestimated. Here are five reasons why:
1. Viswanathan Anand's depth of world championship match experience: Not for nothing has Viswanathan Anand won the world title five times. He has faced a variety of opponents in all types of format and could possibly sleepwalk through several games without losing. Check out: World Chess Champion Five Times: The Anand Timeline.

2. The silent volcano: Not for Viswanathan Anand a media blitzkrieg or screaming girls. Not for Anand the quotes and the rival bashing with television and newspaper bytes... Anand's style is that of the quite volcano that erupts on the chessboard. This guy cannot be underestimated just because he prefers to stay away from the hoopla, or goes for draws. He always has something up his sleeve and, like India's answer to Judit Polgar, Koneru Humpy would say: "It is very difficult to surprise Anand!" He has his own strategy that can finish any opponent. 

3. Watching, waiting and preparing secretly: Viswanathan Anand just got the chance to witness Carlsen in action at the Sinquefield Chess Cup. How much of preparation could Carlsen have hidden, or how much extra would Carlsen be able to prepare in the coming 50 days leading up to the World Chess Championship 2013 in Chennai? Everyone's raving about Carlsen's fitness, but how do we know what Anand's been up to? ;) Who has Anand been training with? Carlsen is the hunted now.

4. Home base motivation: No matter what people say or fear about the pressure upon World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand, the home base is likely to fuel Anand's killer instinct. Vishy Anand has already passionately stated that he wants to "win the title for India." That's more motivation than Anand has ever had before winning the earlier world chess titles.

5. Anand has his own spectacles: Okay this one's a bit tongue-in-cheek, but we couldn't resist it. US No. 1 Hikaru Nakamura started it all by wearing dark shades to his gaves vs Carlsen at the Sinquefield Cup. Anand has no worries about Carlsen's so-called chess hypnotism either. Viswanathan Anand has his own spectacles (even though the plain variety)!

Here is the first part of a special chess training video series featuring the best moments from the World Chess Championship 2012: Viswanathan Anand vs Boris Gelfand in Moscow, Russia. This instructive video is by special arrangement with Grandmaster Igor Smirnov and we hope it gives you tips and tricks to improve your own chess. Don't forget to tune in at our site for the remaining parts of this chess training series. 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 with Anand and Carlsen: After India, it's Battlefield Switzerland

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, September 16, 2013
The Zurich Chess Challenge 2014 will be the first encounter between India’s Viswanathan Anand and Norway’s Magnus Carlsen after their forthcoming world championship match in Chennai. 

From Wednesday, 29 January to Tuesday, 4 February 2014, they will compete in the 3rd Zurich Chess Challenge along with four other great chess stars Levon Aronian
(Arm), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Fabiano Caruana (It) and Boris Gelfand (Isr). With an average of 2794 Elo points (according to the September 13 rating list) this is going to be the strongest tournament in chess history. 

The main sponsor is Oleg Skvortsov of the International Gemological Laboratories, Moscow, with the Zurich Chess Club acting as organizer.

The first Zurich Chess Challenge in 2012 was a match between Kramnik and Aronian. The second event in 2013 was a double-round robin with Kramnik, Anand, Caruana and Gelfand. For the 2014 edition, a blitz tournament will determine the color distribution. A round-robin tournament of five rounds with a classical time control is then followed by a rapid tournament with colors reversed on the last day of play. A won game in the classical tournament counts 2 points, a draw 1 point. Wins in the rapid tournament count 1 point and draws half a point. All games will be commented by Yannick Pelletier and Werner Hug and broadcast live via Internet.

Magnus Carlsen (Norway, Elo 2862, Nr 1)
Levon Aronian (Armenia, Elo 2813, Nr 2)
Fabiano Caruana (Italy, Elo 2779, Nr 5)
Vishwanathan Anand (India, Elo 2775, Nr 7)
Hikaru Nakamura (USA, Elo 2772, Nr 9 )
Boris Gelfand (Israel, Elo 2764, Nr 11)

Daily from 29 January to 4 February 2014.
Spectators are welcome, entrance free.

Main sponsor
IGC International Gemological Laboratories is a Russian institute providing gemological services, such as diamond grading reports, enhanced diamonds identification, man-made/synthetic diamonds and imitation detection as well as certification of diamonds, gemstones and jewelry in the Russian Federation. IGC is the Russian branch of GCI – a group of gemological laboratories located worldwide.

Savoy Chess Corner, Zurich Chess Club (founded in 1809, the oldest chess club of the world)

Viswanathan Anand has also signed up for the London Chess Classic in December, 2013. In case Carlsen also attends the event, then the duo would meet in London before Zurich Chess Challenge, 2014.

Magnus Carlsen has won the Sinquefield Chess Cup with 4.5 points out of six, a full point ahead of the rest of the field and with a rating performance of 2966. In the process, not only does the World No. 1 pick up $70,000, but also precious eight rating points to stand only two points short of his own record.

Carlsen raced ahead of Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Nakamura and Levon Aronian to take the trophy in the four-player Sinquefield Chess Cup. Is that a good result? Carlsen said, "Any time you pick up rating points, generally it's a good result overall!"

Speaking about the next event being the World Chess Championship 2013 in Chennai, in November, against Viswanathan Anand, Carlsen said, "I don't have too many worries." 

Viswanathan Anand would have noted three things for sure about Carlsen's play:

-- Carlsen won't accept draws easily: In the final round, Levon Aronian actually outplayed the World No. 1 in the opening and later, in an even position, proposed a draw. Carlsen did not take it even though the draw guaranteed him tournament victory. Aronian himself wasn't that surprised Carlsen turned down the draw offer, "We're not really playing for money here, we're playing chess". 

Carlsen said, "When I finally had the better position, I wanted to use it" about rejecting the draw offer. Just in case Aronian had managed to beat Carlsen in the last round, the tournament would have gone into a three-way playoff with Carlsen, Nakamura and Aronian. In any case Carlsen has always maintained that chess games at top level should be played right to the finish. The credit for the fighting spirit also goes to Carlsen's fitness regime. Seventy moves against Aronian were "nothing" for Carlsen. He's as fit as Hercules!

-- Beware the Carlsen Passion: Anand could consider wearing dark shades: The only person out of the three top Grandmasters playing Carlsen, in Saint Louis, who could get away with draws was Hikaru Nakamura. He turned up for both his games against Carlsen in sunglasses. The US No. 1 later tweeted about his draws: No hypnotism, better chess. 

That sparked off quite a joke and rumour about Carlsen using chess hypnosis. Both Gata Kamsky and Levon Aronian suffered crushing defeats at the hands of the World No. 1 in the Sinquefield Cup. Nakamura was the only one to escape with draws.

But, jokes apart, it's about how intensely Carlsen feels about the sport of chess. If that passion and intensity could be defined as chess hypnosis, so be it. That spirit has actually revived chess across the world when everyone was grumbling that chess being dull was unable to attract sponsors. If a chess practitioner can come out and rekindle the world's passion with chess, none of us would like to complain.  

-- Carlsen's opening prep will be stronger: Grandmasters around the world have consistently criticised Carlsen's opening play that wavers from theory and goes into uncharted territory even landing the World No. 1 in trouble pretty quickly after the start of a game. However, Carlsen makes up for that lapse with his tremendous fighting spirit and deep understanding of the middlegame and endgame. After his victory at the Sinquefield Cup, Carlsen did say he would be working on the openings! Anand and his team would surely have noted that remark. The World No. 1 still has about 50 full days to work on that aspect of his play.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Viswanathan Anand's Secret to Winning Chess: Emotional Calm and Physical Fitness

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Sunday, September 15, 2013
To Viswanathan Anand, being emotionally calm and physically fit is extremely important, in chess and in life. Here is an interview of the World Chess Champion after winning the world title in 2009 (with Sangeetha Mathew of Complete Wellbeing). 

All the quotes have certainly not lost their relevance even as we head towards what is going to be Vishy's Anand's toughest world chess championship yet! We decided to link to this interview because of the uniqueness of some of the questions. Enjoy the interview if you are a fan of World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand. 

How is the person behind the legendary name?
I am just a normal guy who got good at chess. I am laid back and love to chill at home when I’m not playing. I like listening to music and reading on politics, science and economics.

You started young…

I started playing chess when I was six and just enjoyed it. I used to play at a chess club on weekends. I particularly enjoyed playing blitz games and it’s there that I started playing fast.
Was it very difficult back then?

In the 80s, India still didn’t have a Grandmaster so we didn’t have the benefit of professional coaches. So till 1991, I trained by myself.

For my tournaments, I had to travel a lot in Europe. And in those days, it was much more difficult to travel. You had to get a lot of permissions for foreign exchange, and other things. But my parents would try and see that all these problems were sorted so that I could enjoy chess.

As for me, I didn’t really mind all the travelling, and actually enjoyed travelling and playing in tournaments. I just wanted to play… so any opportunity I got, I played.

Were there challenges and sacrifices?
Well, every sportsperson has to make a lot of sacrifices and choices along the way. And in each stage of your career, the challenge differs and you have to rearrange your talent to be on top.

Since I was the only Indian in most tournaments, information was more difficult to access. As an Indian, you were behind the Soviet Grand masters in preparation. Today, thanks to technology and the Internet, there is a more level-playing field and geographical locations don’t matter much.

How important is mental fitness to you? What do you do to stay mentally fit?

Quite. I think mental fatigue is more difficult to handle than physical fatigue. When the body is tired, we can sleep really well. But if the mind is tired or worried, it’s very difficult to sleep. I try to keep my mind calm and happy. So before an event, I try to switch off and take some time for myself—take a small holiday or do something different just to recharge my batteries.

And what do you do to stay physically fit?

Being healthy is very important especially in sports. In chess, since we have to prepare for about 7 – 8 hours a day, physical fitness is as essential as mental fitness.

Also as sportspeople, we travel for 6 – 8 months to different countries. If we are not healthy, our bodies will not be able to keep up. Very simply, even if you have something as common as ‘common cold’, you can’t compete at your 100 per cent. So we try to improve our stamina and our general resistance to withstand the strain of competing.

How important is eating right for you? Do you have any secret brain foods?

Eating right is important for a healthy life. I don’t really have any brain foods. But I try to eat correctly and avoid heavy foods before a game. I try to get a good breakfast and a light lunch when I am playing or working.

Moving on, does your play get affected by your emotions?

For me, as it is for everyone, feelings determine performance. Only when you are happy or feel good about yourself can you play well. I try to keep my life simple, as chess itself is very complicated.

Rapid fire

Favourite book…
One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers by Andrew Hodges
Favourite music… 
Music of the ’90s
Favourite cuisine… 
Thai, Indian, Italian…but I am a foodie, so I like anything that’s different and tasty.
Role model… 
Bobby Fischer & Mikhail Tal
Health is… 
the ultimate necessity
Positive attitude… 
is the best companion
One driving philosophy… 
Enjoy what you do and relish each challenge
Best de-stresser… 
sleep and music
Happiest moment till date… 
Any victory is a happy moment
Relationship with God… 
I pray and believe that it gives me strength
If Spain is home, then India is… 
India is home, Spain is a base for training and tournaments.

What makes you most happy?
When I do something well, it gives me immense satisfaction; I feel very happy. In life, there are many things that make one happy—being with family, travelling, competing.

What do family and friends mean to you?
They make life special. Family and friends like you for what you are rather than ‘who’ you are. I meet up with school friends often and after the first five minutes, I stop being Viswanathan Anand, and become just Anand who sat in the second row in high school.

Any really close friends?
I have some friends who have been more like family. When I used to travel in Europe for tournaments, I found it very difficult to go back to India and return between tournaments.

Nieves and Maurice, my closest friends in Spain, would insist that I stay with them. They more or less adopted me and I am more like a son to them.

And your family…

I have been quite fortunate to have a lovely family. My parents never forced me—either to play chess or to study. They allowed me to enjoy my childhood. Even when chess was taking me away from school and college, they were very understanding.

Now, my wife travels with me and it’s nice to have someone with you, whom you can trust and who shares your joys and defeats.

Does failure affect you?

It’s impossible to be unaffected. When failure stops affecting you, you stop being a sportsperson. I try to be practical: learn what went wrong, and swiftly move on.

How do you handle the criticism that follows failures?

I have won every rapid title many times over. Someone once told me that it’s news when I lose a game and not when I win… it’s strange.

I think if you lose one game, it’s not the end of anything. If I kept answering to what each one said, I would never have had time to be World Champion.

Winning in chess requires strategy. Does one need strategy to succeed in life as well?

Of course! Both chess and life are inter-related. My strategy [in both] is to be happy, enjoy what I do and constantly learn.

Once you feel you are invincible, you become vulnerable. So I try to learn new areas in chess and experiment with my play. At first, the results may not be as you expect, but you have to hang in there.

Your advice to Complete Wellbeing readers…

Each one has a dream. You should follow your dream, have ambition and focus. Moreover, you should follow your own dream and not someone else’s. The path is never smooth but you should learn to enjoy the journey.

This interview was first published in 
the October 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
In April, 2013 chess world's No. 1 was on the Time annual list of 100 most influential people in the world that includes artists and leaders to pioneers, titans and icons! Each personality had a short intro written by another personality in the field. Here is what legendary world chess champion Garry Kasparov wrote for Magnus Carlsen:

Chess history is best viewed through the game’s evolution: the Romantic Era of the 19th century, the Hypermodernism of the early 20th, the post–World War II dominance of the Soviet School. The elite chess players of today are of no school. They hail from all over the world, as illustrated by current world champion Viswanathan Anand of India and young Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who is due to challenge Anand for the championship this year. I had the opportunity to train Carlsen in 2009, and his intuitive style conserves the mystique of chess at a time when every CPU-enhanced fan thinks the game is easy. Carlsen is as charismatic and independent as he is talented. If he can rekindle the world’s fascination with the royal game, we will soon be living in the Carlsen Era.

-- Kasparov is a former chess 
world champion and a political activist

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Does Chess Prodigy World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen practice Chess Hypnotism?

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Saturday, September 14, 2013

“I just felt like doing something different,” Nakamura said with a smile. “Why not? Life is short, might as well have some fun every once in a while, considering how overly serious chess seems to be at times.”

Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura at the Sinquefield Chess Cup Round 3 in Saint Louis on Thursday, September 12. 

The tweet and quote are by American Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura in reference to his "sunglasses/futuristic" look when he turned up for the third round at the Sinquefield Chess Cup 2013 in Saint Louis three days back. His opponent? Magnus Carlsen!

Was it "something different" or, an antidote to Carlsen's chess hypnotism?

There's been this rumour circulating in the chess world for quite some time that Carlsen is not a chess practitioner in the traditional sense because he uses chess hypnotism. The antidote to his "abilities" is not to make eye contact with him during a game! Is that what Hikaru Nakamura attempted in Saint Louis? The game ended in a draw though Carlsen had to sacrifice his exchange and could have been heading for the gallows. Carlsen survived.

Korchnoi on Chess hypnotism and Carlsen

Back in 2011, during the veterans’ chess tournament in Suzdal, Russia, 80-year-old Victor Korchnoi talked to Vladimir Barsky and Alexander Bykhovsky and said, Magnus Carlsen achieves his success due to “hypnotic abilities”.
The legendary Viktor Korchnoi told ChessPro in an interview: "I don’t see that Carlsen has the chess ability and I can’t understand at all how he achieves such incredible success. I can guess why, but it’s got no direct relation to chess. In the new edition of my 'Selected Games' I’ve added some things. For example, a game which I won in the 1974 match against Mecking (left). The key game of the whole match was the seventh. I could have lost it and then Mecking might have won the match. I’d been utterly outplayed!

"Nevertheless, I managed to adjourn the game in an endgame a pawn down. He’s a serious player and had won two inter-zonal tournaments, and I was a pawn down; in general, I’d already written myself off… And what happened? I won that adjourned game! A pawn down, in the endgame! And I started to ask myself: how’s such a thing possible?

"I began my discussion of the game: “In the chess world there are a few people with absolutely incredible hypnotic abilities. I consider Henrique Mecking to be among a group of three people who’ve achieved success in chess in that manner. Those are Mikhail Tal, Magnus Carlsen and Henrique Mecking”.

"I wrote that, and who objected? Kasparov didn’t agree, but that’s his business! I’ve got my own outlook on life and chess. The man forced his opponent to play as he wanted at the board. Then he goes home where there’s no opponent; and as a result he loses a drawn position. It’s not chess but something totally different! That’s how I see it.

World Chess Championship 1978
Further back in chess history, during the 1978 World Chess Championship between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi in Baguio City, Philippines from July 18 to October 18, 1978, Karpov's team included one Dr Zukhar (a well-known hypnotist). There were complaints about the use of hypnotism and Korchnoi called for mirror glasses. (There were other bizarre incidents at that championship as well.)

Chess self-hypnosis downloads on the Internet

There are thousands of downloads (both free and paid) available on the Internet for subliminal self-hypnosis. These audio programmes claim to build your memory in record time, improve your concentration skills and help bring about a state of complete and total focus for playing strong chess. This is all self hypnosis.

Indian street-fighter chess and hypnosis

As rumour would have it, Carlsen practices a sort of hypnosis that gets his opponent onto the back foot and into blunders. Any Indian chess street-fighter would tell you that "this type of chess hypnosis" does exist and is used by focusing really hard on a particular square during the ga
me. Supposedly, this unsettles the opponent. This chess hypnotism requires plenty of energy and these chess players also say that chess hypnotism could affect ones health. 

Chess - being a sport of concentration - obviously requires enhanced focus and concentration. So, it is understood that professional chess players do use techniques to enhance focus and concentration. How much of this involves hypnotism of the opponent is anybody's guess. Indian chess players are known to use pranayama breathing techniques, regular physical fitness programmes, meditation etc. to calm their mind and improve concentration, but none have confessed about using any chess hypnotism.

The chess hypnotis
m failure

In lighter vein, here is Russian maverick Grandmaster Alexander Morozovich's comment in an interview to WGM Alina L'Ami's question: What about oddities, have you done anything unusual in your training?

"Well, I regularly practice chess hypnotism. Without any result:) Recently I've started taking my backpack to the games with a much better effect. A number of very impressionable players have been thinking of what's inside more than about their own games! 

We even had a funny advert circulating online after Hikaru Nakamura's "something different" appearance.

Sinquefield Chess Cup 2013

Back to speaking about the Sinquefield Chess Cup Round 3: Brian Jerauld, reporting for the official website wrote: At the 1959 Candidates Tournament, Hungarian GM Pal Benko, desperate to refute the “hypnotic stare” of the legendary Mikhail Tal, pulled from his pocket a defense never tried before: reflective sunglasses. Tal had decisively won every match of their career to that point. In the third round of the Sinquefield Cup, GM Hikaru Nakamura decided to try out 'Benko’s variation'.

The eccentric American No. 1 (Hikaru Nakamura) strolled into the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis on Wednesday, donning a pair of shades for his game against Norway’s Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen, perhaps through hypnotism, decisively held the lifetime series between the two at 7-0 with 13 draws.

"For the first time in his life, Carlsen has to look at his opponent and see himself," quipped GM Ian Rogers, who was offering live commentary to a crowd at Lester’s restaurant nearby the Chess Club. "That will be scary."

What happens on September 14, 2013?

It's going to be Hikaru Nakamura versus Carlsen today in Saint Louis for the second game in the round-robin. Will Nakamura turn up with sunglasse again?

Even if Nakamura survives Carlsen's hypnotic glare, will Carlsen be using this hypnosis to pound out Viswanathan Anand at the World Chess Championship 2013 in Chennai? Has Anand already prepared some Indian techniques to take care of "such stuff" and will force the boy Carlsen to his knees on the chessboard this November? Exciting untold answers and the chess world watches with baited breath. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cool Chess Video: Judit Polgar Giving a Hard Time to Magnus Carlsen in Mexico

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Friday, September 13, 2013

The 2nd Gran Fiesta UNAM Chess festival took place from 16-25 November, 2012 in Mexico City. The festival comprised a number of competitions, but the highlight was the Judit Polgar and Magnus Carlsen match. Carlsen and Polgar had eliminated Lazaro Bruzon and Manuel Leon Hoyos in the qualifying rounds en route to the final, but the world #1 didn't have things all his own way. Judit Polgar won the first game, beating Magnus Carlsen with black in their rapid clash, but Carlsen hit back to win the second encounter which was played blindfolded. That meant blitz tie-breaks games were needed, and Carlsen won both games convincingly to take victory overall. Enjoy the video from the official chess channel of the Chess World No. 1 among women, Judit Polgar. 

Also read: The Chess Queen Who Beat 'em both: Kosteniuk Chess VideosSo, even if Carlsen beats Viswanathan Anand in the upcoming World Chess Championship in Chennai this November, we know he's still got plenty of cool chess competition coming his way! ;)