World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency: Search results for GM interview
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query GM interview. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query GM interview. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2013

Anand will have to Change Strategy vs Unpredictable Carlsen at World Chess Championship: GM RB Ramesh

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, October 21, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview - Grandmaster RB Ramesh - who gave India's youngest national chess champion last year - has said the result of the 2013 World Chess Championship between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand will depend considerably on the chess support the two receive from their seconds. GM RB Ramesh was quoted in an interview given to New Indian Express this weekend. Here are the relevant quotes:

On the chess styles of Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen: Anand prepares very well and likes to get into a familiar position on the chess board while and putting his opponent into unfamiliar territory where they would be at a loss. Anand is more traditional (in his chess style) and tends to follow the main opening lines while Carlsen on the other hand is likely to play offbeat sidelines and look to neutralise Anand’s preparatory advantage. (Photos via Chess Gurukul - GM RB Ramesh and wife GM Aarthie Ramaswamy's chess school in Chennai.)

On Viswanathan Anand's strengths: He has got the experience of playing many matches against top class opponents like Anatoly Karpov, Vladimir Kramnik, Boris Gelfand and Veselin Topalov. Anand’s main strength is his preparation which has worked well against most opponents and his aggressive play as he has the ability to calculate the moves very well.

On Magnus Carlsen's strengths: Carlsen seems to have the mentality that there is too much opening theory and it is impossible to master all of that. So he relishes the challenge of getting his adversary to play unknown positions where his originality would come to the fore. The World No 1 has great fighting spirit and stamina and even in losing positions, he never gives up and tries some trick or other to get back on an even keel. Another key strength is his endgame where Carlsen tries to force a victory breaking down his opponents after putting them under relentless pressure until they make a blunder or cave in through mental fatigue.

On the challenge presented to Viswanathan Anand by playing Carlsen as opposed to Kramnik and Gelfand: Against players of his generation like Kramnik and Gelfand, Anand could play the principled main line openings since they play similar in that regard, but it won’t be possible against Carlsen who is unpredictable and may play different sidelines each time. Typically at the top level, GMs tend to split the point when they reach a position of no-advantage but for Carlsen, that represents just the start and he would enjoy the prospect of a long battle.

On who would win World Chess Championship 2013: Anand has not played very well in the last two years and slipped down the rating while Carlsen is on the way up (having broken Kasparov’s all-time high FIDE rating) and looks to be peaking at the right time. So, Anand would look to bring forth new ideas in opening to get into complicated positions and put pressure on Carlsen hence gaining an advantage while Carlsen would look to stretch the game and take him to new positions. The role of the seconds would be very important as they have to prepare for many sidelines too. I believe the player who is able to bring forth his strategy onto the board will ultimately triumph.

On Anand being a role model for Indian kids: He is a very nice person and has a very good sense of humour. He is also very articulate in expressing his ideas. Anand is very encouraging and whenever Indians win a tournament, he used to call them up and congratulate them. That motivates the young players a lot.

On his interaction with Anand in the past: When we were kids, we were inspired by his feats. Anand spent a lot of time abroad but when he came to Chennai, he would host a dinner for the promising youngsters. Due to a paucity of good books and training at that time, it was “education time” for us to clarify our doubts and we drilled him with a number of questions–some idiotic ones as well but he patiently answered all of us. That helped us understand the thinking of a Grandmaster and improve our game. Initially we were all focused on results but Anand used to tell us, “Chess should be fun” and that we should enjoy ourselves. Later we found that to be very true.

Friday, November 1, 2013

GM Sergey Karjakin: Of course Anand has the Chance to Win World Chess Championship vs Carlsen!

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Friday, November 1, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: In an interview with Russian news agency Itar-Tass, GM Sergey Karjakin had spoken about Viswanathan Anand's chances of retaining his World Chess title. Karjakin spoke about his chess, career, and sweetheart. One of the questions was about the Carlsen vs Anand World Championship in Chennai: 

- Many people believe that Anand is doomed to lose in the upcoming World Chess Championship match against Magnus Carlsen. What do you think? What is the reason for the World Chess Champion's weaker form lately? 

Karjakin: Perhaps, this is due to age - hard to stay number one for a long time. Maybe decreased motivation. Previously, he (Anand) was fighting to simply get to super-tournaments, now he receives an appearance fee. It seems to me that the situation would have been different if the tournaments involved prize money only. 
But, Anand's chance to win against Magnus Carlsen: Of course there is! It is important to note that the Norwegian, for all his talent, has never played a match. He (Carlsen) was just one step away from missing this match (World Chess Championship) at the London Chess Candidates tournament in the final round. He showed that he had not learned to win the decisive game."
In existence since 1904, Itar-Tass, from Russia, is one of the world's largest news agencies.

For all the GM opinions on the chances of either player in the Carlsen vs Anand World Chess Championship Match 2013 at our site, check these chess posts. More opinions soon enough.

B&W Team Note: Yes, may we now hear the Indian chess fans applauding with glee?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Both will Find it Tough to Deal with the Other, Better Chess, Better Stress Management Wins: GM Gelfand

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Wednesday, November 6, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: Here is a Grandmaster Interview that quite a few people would be waiting for. Susan Ninan of Times of India spoke to former World Chess Championship Challenger Boris Gelfand. Viswanathan Anand won his fifth World Chess title in 2012 beating GM Boris Gelfand in Moscow:  

Q: Last year's match is often referred to as Anand's toughest World Championship win so far. Do you agree?
It was the only title match for Anand which was drawn and he won in the tiebreaker. That says it all.

How do you see this title match going?
I think both players will find the other tough to deal with. Eventually, the one who plays better and manages stress better will win.

What do you think will be the factors that will play a key role in this match?

It's all about good preparation, strong nerves, endurance and a high level of play.

It seemed you were able to work your way through Anand's strategy last year. What helped you catch him completely off-guard? Do you still regret the misadventure in Game 8 which you lost in 17 moves and brought Anand back into the game?

I would say my years of experience. During my long career, I have been studying different players and varied styles of play. It helped me understand Anand well and build my match strategy. Of course, the eighth game of the match was a very painful miss as I didn't play well.

The secrecy around the seconds is said to have been heightened after last year's match. It was later known that additional seconds, whose identity was a wellguarded secret, had been at your aid. Also, who do you think are the players helping Anand and Carlsen this time?

I'm not in the know as to who is helping them, but I'm sure that the players know or at least suspect who is on their opponent's team.

How important a factor will age be in this match? Do you think a rating difference of 100 points between the players will have a bearing?

I hope that Anand will play like a young tiger and age wouldn't play a role. The importance of rating is strongly overrated. It is just the numbers.

How has Anand evolved as a player over the years and why do you think he is still not mentioned in the same breath as Kasparov despite his achievements?

Anand is a modest and dignified person. He is not obsessed about being on the cover of popular magazines or being hounded by the media. He, like Kramnik, doesn't want the world to talk only about him. Anand started his career as a bright tactical player who could win a game in 20 minutes. During the years he matured as an all-round player who could excel in everything on the chess board.

Carlsen is called the Mozart of chess because of the beauty he brings to the game....

Journalists like using beautiful words. Carlsen definitely plays fantastic chess. But with due respect to Magnus, there were brilliant players in the past, there are in the present and there will be many more in future.

Since you have played Carlsen as well, what are your thoughts on him? How unpredictable can he prove to be in his maiden title match?

Carlsen is a fantastic young player who has scaled great peaks in a short span of time. But still he doesn't have any match experience, so I cannot predict his play.

What do you think Anand will have to do differently this time?
He must find a key to his style and play his best chess.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Carlsen vs Anand Anything Can Happen: GM Simen Agdestein, the Man who Programmed Carlsen 1.0

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, November 4, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: It's going to be the athlete meeting the scientist or scholar of chess, says Grandmaster Simen Agdestein, World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen's former chess coach. And, GM Agdestein is not too sure who's going to win! He is not willing to bet on either at this stage.

Speaking to NTB - Norway's national news agency - GM Agdestein said the two players of the World Chess Championship have a very different approach towards the game of chess. He was quoted as saying, "I would think that Anand has prepared with three or four Grandmasters in recent months. He has probably put a lot of hard work into preparing openings for the games. Besides human help in this training, he has probably also made use of computers. So, he is as well prepared as possible for the opening moves Magnus comes with."

Agdestein said, "Until now it has been tough preparation for Magnus. He has worked very hard, I know, but the key until the first game starting this Saturday, is to relax. It is about recharging his batteries."Agdestein expects an unorthodox and practical play by Magnus with his strategy of long games that have already brought him thus far. Agdestein said he was quite excited by the match, but dare not bet yet on either of them. 

On Anand's strengths, Agdestein said, the World Chess Champion has the experience to fight at this level, while Carlsen likes to do his own thing. 

For all Grandmaster views we've posted so far check here.

* The Carlsen Chess Story
* Carlsen got Kasparov's database of 20 years' work

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Carlsen Definitely has Better Chances at World Chess Championship 2013 versus Anand: GM Parimarjan Negi

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Wednesday, October 23, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview - Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi - the second youngest chess Grandmaster (at 13 years, four months, 22 days in 2006) in the world after Sergey Karjakin of Russia says Magnus Carlsen has the upper hand in the upcoming 2013 World Chess Championship versus Viswanathan Anand. GM Parimarjan Negi spoke to New Indian Express: 

“The first time I saw him (Magnus Carlsen), I was 11 and he was 13. It was at the chess tournament where he achieved his final GM norm, where I was a participant as well. He was already a superstar.”

“Carlsen definitely has the better chance. He is mentally very tough and that is one of his strongest points. The one thing working against him is that everybody expects him to win. His chances of winning are good, but definitely not as high as they are being made out to be. He showed some nerves during the recent Candidates tournament.”

“Anand is definitely not a worse player than Carlsen. It is just that he has not been at his best recently while Carlsen is at his peak. Anand has been trying to change his style a lot. Earlier, he was trying to be solid and take fewer risks, but that will not work against Carlsen who is physically fit and has great stamina. He has tried to play a more powerful complicated game in recent times, but has made a number of blunders along the way. If he can avoid those blunders, then the match will definitely be very close.”

Sunday, October 20, 2013

There will Only be One Opening Master in Carlsen vs Anand World Chess Championship: GM Peter Svidler

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Sunday, October 20, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interviewGrandmaster Peter Svidler - who just won the Russian Chess Championship for a record seventh time - has said Magnus Carlsen will not have "adjustment problems" playing in India as Anna Ushenina recently had while playing in China against Hou Yifan for the Women's World Chess Championship 2013. 

GM Peter Svidler was quoted in an interview given to the Russian Chess Federation and transcribed by

"A lot will depend on how smoothly openings work for Anand as there is only one "opening master" in this match. If such an opening balance will be maintained then the match will be interesting and approximately equal. If Magnus has worked precisely on that part and if he manages to "catch" Anand in the opening as white, I should say it will be a hard life for Vishy. From the pure playing point of view Magnus is stronger and he has more energy. [...] Nonetheless, Anand is certainly experienced in not only playing the matches but in preparing to them. I guess it won't be easy to fight with his opening preparation. And then anything is possible. Well, we'll see.. It should be interesting!"

"As regards Ushenina - Hou Yifan match, nothing similar will happen in Chennai - that's for sure. If even 25% of what Alexander Khalifman has said is truth... I suspect even more is truth for I know him for a long already and he is definitely not the one loving artistic exaggerations. [...] There's a huge difference between the powerful team helping Magnus and what support was offered to Ushenina. Anna had professional seconds, but as I see it Ukrainian chess Federation didn't want to take responsibility and publish any official statement: to have some position and say: "Hey, that's not how it should work!" Magnus' team will tell the organizers what they think the very minute anything will go wrong in India. That's why I am sure that there won't even be an attempt of doing something similar."    

"I guess the food and water danger is too exaggerated. All that craze that the Norwegian team will have its own cook... Maybe that's a good decision, but I mean the chance of getting poisoned in 5-star hotel in India is not bigger than in any other 5-star hotel anywhere else. Remembering World Chess Cup 2011, we were staying in Hotel Hyatt and they had six restaurants with different cuisine only on the first floor; and the food was very tasty. We had no problems - it's just funny to talk about that. The reputation of India as a country in which you can eat something and then be on pills the entire tournament is stereotypical and goes back to the time when people didn't live in good hotels."

*Note: The Alexander Khalifman reference is to Women's World Chess Champion Anna Ushenina losing her crown a few weeks back to Hou Yifan in China.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Viswanathan Anand has a Definite Chance. How many Favoured Anand vs Kramnik? Asks GM Sahaj Grover

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Wednesday, November 6, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: Young Indian Grandmaster and former Under-10 world champion, Sahaj Grover is surprised at Magnus Carlsen of Norway being made such a big favourite in the forthcoming World Chess championship match against Viswanathan Anand and says the Indian has a great chance.

"No one can doubt or have any apprehension on Carlsen as Anand's challenger but from what I have been reading, it looks like Carlsen is a huge favourite, which in my opinion is not entirely correct," the 18-year-old said.

"Carlsen has been at the top of his game for many years but is yet to play a match of this stature. I am not saying he can't beat Anand but his chances should be about level.

"He is in great form but Anand has proved himself to be a great match player. How many favoured Anand to beat Kramnik in 2008? Yet he did it with awesome ease. Anand has a definite chance against Carlsen," he added.

A fan of Bobby Fischer, Grover said Anand is one of the few greats in the world.

"The last few decades have been changing times in the world of chess. Historically Fischer played well ahead of his time and Kasparov tormented the opposition like no one else. In the last 40 years these two apart from Anatoly Karpov (former world champion) can be classified as players who ruled the chess world in their prime. When we look at others, only Anand has matched these standards. Who has won the world championship five times in various formats?" Grover asked.

Only Mikhail Botwinnik of Russia won the world championship in match and tournament format prior to Anand. The chess world was in a crisis for the top position when Alexander Alekhine died as the world champion in 1946.

In 1948, a match tournament was organised with five top players of the world, which was won by Botwinnik. Subsequently the Russian great went on to defend the title in matches thereafter.

Anand, in fact, has done one better. The Indian ace has won the world championship in knockout format too, often criticised as the 'lottery', apart from winning three matches and a world championship match tournament in 2007.

"It's hard to have a clear pick when experience clashes with youth, things can go downhill for either of them in no time. I guess the defining moment will be either when Anand showcases abrilliant piece of home work to win or when Carlsen is able to outplay the Indian from an equal position," noted Grover.

Preparing for the next World Under-18 championship at Al-Ain in December, Grover will be watching and rooting for Anand from home.

"I haven't really seen much chess on TV, so this would be a first, also there will be live webcast for me. I am just going to watch from home and root for Anand. I read somewhere that Anand mentioned that he wanted to win it for Indian Chess. Amen!" said the budding star. -- PTI

* More GM opinions
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview - Former Indian national chess champion Grandmaster P Harikrishna feels Viswanathan Anand's biggest quality is his adaptability and as the rounds progress, he would get used to the pressure. GM Harikrishna spoke to Indian Express:  

It is a battle between two different generations. Carlsen currently is the world No 1 in ranking and he is in good form with many tournament victories. On the other hand, Anand is a seasoned campaigner. He has won the last three world championship matches against Vladimir Kramnik (2008), Veselin Topalov (2010) and Boris Gelfand (2012). For Anand, this match is more important than the previous ones. 

He might feel a bit of pressure in the initial rounds. However, as the match progresses, he will get used to it. It is hard to predict what his approach will be in this match. But Anand has one of the best qualities that is adaptability. I have seen him using different approaches for different opponents. He has played Carlsen in many tournaments and I’m sure he is aware which strategy to take against him. If we look at Anand’s tournament performances in the last five years, we can see a big difference in his approach. 

Carlsen tries to win every single game. He can play many openings as he can grasp very quickly the nuances of any position. So this makes him highly unpredictable. He can choose any opening on the morning of the game and play it as if he has studied it for months. In fact, I won’t be surprised if it is 6-6 and they fight it out in the tie-breaker. The mental battle will be limited to the openings, strategy and other things related to the game and nothing else.

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

Anand has Better Temperament and Experience, but Chess Rating Gap is Huge: GM Dibyendu Barua

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, September 9, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: India's second Grandmaster, Dibyendu Barua, has said he feels World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand will have the advantage of a better temperament and match experience when he defends his title against Norwegian challenger Magnus Carlsen in Chennai in November.

Barua said the only factor that 
might bother the world chess champion would be the relatively “big” difference in ratings. Rarely has a World Chess Championship title match seen such a big difference in rating points between the two players. It is a difference of 87 points going by the current rating of Anand (2775) and Carlsen (2862). "A difference of 10 rating points is considered big at this level. This may be a cause of concern for Anand and may weigh on him psychologically that his challenger is ahead of him in terms of rating," Barua, who is also a vice-president of the All India Chess Federation, said.

“The Chess World No. 1, who at one point reached 2872, looks more formidable than even the legendary Russian World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov. Many expect him to reach 2900 very soon. Anand is a bit off-colour these days and appears to be struggling in his recent performances,” Barua said.

“There may be a couple of factors bothering Anand but one must remember that there are many strong points that will keep Anand ahead on his home turf. His temperament is outstanding and he has the experience of winning the title five times,” Barua said.

“Anand is very meticulous in his preparation and is a much transformed player when he is playing for the title. It will be interesting to see how Carlsen, who is playing in the World championship clash for the first time, tackles the intense pressure of the 12-game format,” he said.

Barua said the first couple of games would be crucial. “Anand cannot afford to let his young opponent any allowance and should take charge right from the beginning. Carlsen who is diligent does not believe in any spectacular opening. But he prefers to take the game in the comfort zone where he is unflinching in his attack,” Barua, who will be at the venue to see Anand defend his title, said. -- Agencies

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Anand Loss No Blow to Indian Chess, Time to Capitalise on World Championship Hype: GM Parimarjan Negi

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Sunday, November 24, 2013
The Anand - Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013 has given India a great chance to build on the hype that has been created and the All India Chess Federation must capitalise on the wave to help chess grow in India. 

In a most sensible reaction - the first we're reading in India by an Indian Grandmaster on the subject of Anand's loss - the young talent from New Delhi told NNIS Sports that it would be great if we had more strong chess tournaments in India as most youngsters have to go to Europe to play which is expensive and not very easy. 

GM Parimarjan Negi said Anand's loss is not a big blow to Indian chess at all and the best needs to be made out of the momentum that has been created for chess in India. Now isn't that the most sensible reaction AND accurate statement we've heard in India so far on the World Chess Championship 2013? Here is the video interview with GM Parimarjan Negi. 

* GM Negi's almost believable fun take

Monday, November 11, 2013

Anand - Carlsen Match will become Exciting Soon, Even Heavyweight Boxing Starts Slow: Kasparov

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, November 11, 2013
Chennai World Chess Championship Chennai 2013 GM Interview: Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov has said the Anand - Carlsen World Chess Match will witness a close finish. 

Speaking to journalists at the Hyatt Regency, the former world chess champion said, "I am amazed by the publicity for the match and reminds me of my match with Anatoly Karpov and the Spassky-Fischer game. I hope Anand vs Carlsen match will be the revival of chess, it shows the importance of the title and is an amazing clash of generations."

Garry Kasparov reached Chennai with his wife Daria as a "chess tourist" and said even though he felt the 22-year-old Norwegian challenger has a slight edge, the experience of the 43-year-old defending champion Viswanathan Anand could come into play.

Kasparov said, "I have a very good relation with Carlsen and his team but my talk will be limited to wishing him good luck. I cannot hide the fact that my sympathies are with Carlsen, not because we have worked before but because I believe that the future belongs to the younger generation and Carlsen is half of Vishy's age."

"Having said that, World Championship is a highly unpredictable event and Vishy has plenty of experience and is on his home turf. The match will be very close and I would not share the optimism of many commentators saying Carlsen will have an easy job. There is no easy walk to World Championship."

Kasparov said, he didn't make much of the two draws so far. He said, the match would become exciting later on. "I wasn't critical because there is too much at stake. When you look at heavyweight boxing it very often starts slow." 

"It could be dramatic but normally they find to find a weakness but eventually it gets faster. Nobody wants to make a mistake or give the opponent an early lead. The match will become exciting," said Kasparov. (B&W With inputs from PTI)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Carlsen not Overwhelming Favourite, Anand will retain World Chess Champion Title: GM Abhijeet Gupta

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Saturday, October 26, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview - Former Indian national chess champion Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta feels Viswanathan Anand is going to keep his title at the upcoming World Chess Match versus Magnus Carlsen. Gupta is a former World Junior Chess Champion and spoke to the Times of India:  

"It will be a very intense match and Anand's experience in such events should come in very handy. Anand has established himself as an all round player, winning the world championship in knockout, match-tournament and matches. Carlsen undoubtedly is the most worthy challenger but one needs nerves of steel for such matches," Gupta said.

Regarding Carlsen, Gupta said, "Carlsen lost the last two games (at the London Chess Candidates) under pressure when a draw might have been enough to clinch the right to challenge Anand, he was lucky in some way as Kramnik also lost the last game. It was nerve-wreaking to say the least but it also tells us that Carlsen is capable of losing as well, giving Carlsen the tag of overwhelming favourite is probably not justified."

"There is a thin line between pressure of playing at home and enjoying the home advantage, Anand will surely tackle it. He beat Topalov in Bulgaria which would surely help in learning how not to let this advantage slip," he said. 

"It will be a very close affair surely. I guess the first half will be important from Anand's perspective, Carlsen will be full of energy in those games and mostly will come down guns blazing. In the second half it won't be so simple for Carlsen that's why matches are so difficult," Gupta noted. 

"Against Topalov in 2010 Anand started with a loss and won the second game itself. Against Gelfand in 2012 too Anand lost first before winning while against Kramnik in 2008 he simply outclassed the Russian, so for Anand it probably doesn't matter. He comes back harder when down, and rolls over you when he is up. The stuff legends are made of," said Gupta.

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:

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.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Anand would be Under Pressure from Home Chess Fans: Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Sunday, September 8, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: Mumbai, September 8: With the buzz surrounding the contest between five-time champion Viswanathan Anand and world number one Magnus Carlsen, chess Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay said it would have been favourable for the Indian if the match was not scheduled in Chennai. 

"The match being held at Chennai, I am not sure if that will have a good effect. Anand would be under a lot of pressure. I think this is not favourable for Anand," Thipsay said at the Sports Journalists' Association of Mumbai awards on Sunday.

The match is slated between November 7 and 26 in Chennai. Analysing the players, Thipsay said that Anand has struggled in the past against players who take risks.

"The only problem with him is the players who are very erratic and players who play positions, which are not known to them. There are players who are natural gamblers and they play variations without knowing what will happen. Anand has always been bad against such street fighters. If he is able to study the style of a player, he can beat anybody," he said.

He said if the 43-year-old Anand doesn't make it a matter of prestige against his 22-year-old opponent then he is likely to succeed.

"Overall it's a match between a master of the game and one of the best street fighters. Carlsen plays very similar to one his first coaches, Grand
master Simen Agdestein. He gets into positions which are not known to him and not known to the opponent either. The positions which are not ambitious and he doesn't know what will happen," he said.

"He is going to fight it out over the board. That is the sort of thing which is dangerous because probably he doesn't have anything to lose since he has several years more. If Anand doesn't make it a matter of prestige, Anand will prevail." (Left photo: Pravin Thipsay)

The chess ace also pointed out that Anand is an attacking player and his weak point has been the defense.

"Anand's drawback has been the defense. He is an attacking player. His attack is based on the sound position of style. Only after he gets into a better position, he goes for the attack," Thipsay said.

He said the match would be a tough one but felt it would be a one-sided contest.

"I feel the match will be one-sided. Either the master wins easily or the street fighter wins easily. There is no scope for any unclear thing, because it is such a divergent style. It is going to be a tough match. I am very anxious and also I don't know what the result of the match will be," he said.

Dronacharya award winner Raghunandan Gokhale said it is difficult to predict what will happen but said the sport would benefit from it.

"Both are very talented. The match will sparkle interest everywhere. Chess will benefit after this match, whether Anand wins it or Carlsen," Gokhale said. --PTI

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. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Both Anand, Carlsen Confident, Stay Unprovoked, Remain their Natural Fun Self at First Press Conference

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Thursday, November 7, 2013

World Chess Championship with Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen in Chennai - first press conference: As a stern test awaited his quest for a sixth title, Indian chess wizard Viswanathan Anand was a picture of confidence and he promised an attacking game against Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the much-awaited World Championship match that begins on Saturday.

Anand, the undisputed world champion since 2007, faces a strong challenge from the 22-year-old Norwegian sensation Carslen in one of the most awaited World Chess Championship matches in recent history.

Asked how well he has prepared for the event, Anand said, "I worked as I always did. Couple of months of training and I think I am ready to attack. We will see how it goes but I think I am ready to play."

"I am really excited to play in my home city. I am looking forward to the match starting and getting on to that," he said after the inauguration of the event by Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

In terms of hype, the match between five-time champion Anand and world number one Carlsen is comparable to the historic clash between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky way back in 1972.

Here is the VG TV video. Official press conference video in earlier post.

The two players sought to play a bit of mind games in their first press conferences ahead of the match, with Carlsen refusing to disclose the names of his seconds after Anand said Indian Grandmasters K Sasikiran and Sandipan Chanda, Hungarian Peter Leko and Poland's Radoslav Wojtaszek would assist him in the November 9-28 event.

"I appreciate Mr Anand's openness about his team but I will say I am not going to return the favour," Carlsen said.

"I am happy today. It is good to be here. Everything is good so far and I am looking forward to the match starting," said the current world number one Carlsen who won the right to contest against Anand after winning the Candidates Tournament earlier this year.

Asked about his response on Carlsen refusing to name his seconds, Anand said, "Since he cannot believe the whole truth about it and either of us, it does not really matter. I mean, I can answer a question honestly but you will never know whether it was the whole truth or not. The same goes for him. So, it does not really matter too much."

When a scribe asked a question to Carslen in Norwegian, the FIDE media officer requested him to translate it into English before answering in English, but the Norwegian refused.

"I really do not know if this question should be really translated into English but I will have to reply," Carlsen said before replying in Norwegian.

Anand was also not to be left behind as he answered a question in Tamil a couple of minutes later.

Anand said that he was not perturbed by suggestions that he would begin as the underdog in the match.

"I don't know. In general, I get ready to play against certain opponent. That is it. As for whether some thinks I am a favourite or not or the percentage that I enjoy, I do not know what you can do with that information any way."

Having won five world titles, Anand said his experience could come in handy in the 12-game match which will be played at the Hyatt Regency here.

"Obviously, it is one factor among many. I will bring to bear those factors into my game. Definitely it is one of my resources I would like to draw from. We will have to see."

Carlsen also sought to downplay the view of some experts that he will start as favourite in the match.

"I do not know if everyone considers me a favourite but in general I expect to do well in tournaments. If I manage to do well to my abilities and levels, I can win and that will be my mind set here as well," he said.

Anand was emotional when asked about his quest of winning the sixth title in his home city.

"For me, I am happy to play world championship match in Chennai in this life, which is my home. I thank J Jayalalithaa for helping me and making it happen in Chennai. It would not have happened without the Chief Minister's interest in the matter. I am really grateful to her for that.

"Now that has come to true that I am to play at home, I must now try and play my best. At this moment, I am only thinking as to how I am going to play," he said.

In a recent television interview, Carlsen had said that Anand enjoys good food and he (Anand) is somewhat lazy even though much more serious for a match like this. But asked about this, the Indian refused to react.

"I enjoy good food, that is for sure. As for the rest, you say lot of things during interviews. It makes no sense to response to everything," said Anand.

Asked about the media hype for the event, Carlsen said, "I am happy that there is so much interest for chess in India. Anand is a star here and I am hoping there will be lot of chess fans and media in general and lot of positive interest around the match."

Both Anand and Carlsen are staying at Hyatt, and when the Indian was asked about staying at the venue itself, he said, "This is very convenient, especially since you do not have to reckon with traffic hazards at all. Obviously for the players it is extremely comfortable. That is how I feel."

Carlsen, however, did not fully agree with Anand's statement and said, "It is not so much, of course there are some obvious advantages like logistical and on the other hand perhaps it is tough staying in the same place for a long time but overall I am happy with the arrangements."

Meanwhile, FIDE vice-president D V Sundar said some side events are being held during the World Championship match.

"Chennai is considered as the Mecca of Indian chess. We are hosting exclusive Women GM tournament, Open Women GM tournament and Under-17 tournaments and others," he said.

FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said, "First of all, I thank the chief minister for hosting and sponsoring the event. I thank GM Anand and Carlsen."

Tamil Nadu government is the official sponsors of the match and has given a cap of Rs 29 crore as the total budget which is inclusive of a prize fund of around Rs 14 crore.

In all, 12 games will be played in the World Championship match under Classical system in which both players will get 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 and the 15 minutes for the remaining game with an increment of 30 seconds per move effective from the 61st move.

The first to score 6.5 points will win the match and the remaining games will not be played should it happen before the 12th game. The winner will take home 60% of the prize fund.

In case of a tied score after twelve games, games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner. However, if the tiebreak stage is reached the winner will get 55% of the total prize at stake. --PTI

* Official video of first press conference
* At the gala opening ceremony, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalitha picked first a photo of Viswanathan Anand then a black chess piece, so Magnus Carlsen begins with White in the first game on Saturday. (More on that later)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Magnus Carlsen Chess Fans: The Pyjama Girls Turn Around, Believe Magnus Will be World Champion

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Friday, November 15, 2013
Magnus Carlsen fans cheer for the World No. 1 at the Chennai World Chess Championship 2013 versus Viswanathan Anand. They are the 'Pyjama Girls'.

This is a photo is of the 'Pyjama Girls' thus nicknamed after their photograph went viral via Twitter during the third game of the Carlsen - Anand World Chess Match on Tuesday. 

The girls were happy enough to turn around for us! This is a photo of them at school where they often play chess. .

Amalie Pedersen (the blonde in Black) told us, "My friends and I, sat and watched Carlsen against Vishy Anand. We love Magnus Carlsen and wanted to give Carlsen our support, so we got my mom to take a picture of us and we posted it on twitter with hashtag #nrksjakk."

Amalie told us, "We are four girls of 16 years, who are studying in our first year in high school. We are all very interested in chess, and especially Magnus Carlsen. We have followed through on Carlsen's progress in chess since we were 10 years old. He is our idol. But when we play chess, it’s just for fun and as a hobby."

"Sometimes we have chess evenings together where we sit and play some chess. I think that Magnus has great chances to win the title of World Champion in chess. He is smart and I think he has planned some good moves, and he has the highest chess rating of all time," she said.

GM Nigel Short ‏was quick to tweet: Why weren't there any girls taking their clothes off when I played the World Ch? #jealous

GM Parimarjan Negi promptly tweeted back: I guess Aruna is hoping that Indian girls are not so daring :)

The girls said, "We tuned in to the World Chess Championship match first on Saturday. And, now we cannot stop watching. Magnus Carlsen has become our idol. We are interested in chess and have special interest in Carlsen."

Speaking about their town, Amalie said, "We live in a small place called Andebu. It is slightly off Tøsnberg which is Norway's oldest city. In middle school we had a chess board in the classroom that anyone could use during recess, but otherwise it's not so much chess interest here. However, we are interested in chess now with this World Chess Championship Match, so more young people could also be interested now in Norway."

Here is the VGTV video interview of the girls in Norwegian

Andebu is a municipality in Vestfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Andebu. The parish of Andebo was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838. Andebu has large areas of woodland. -- Rajat Khanna

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nigel Short: I don't Doubt it is Possible for Anand to Raise his Game, Question is Can He here in Chennai?

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Wednesday, November 6, 2013
This is the second part of GM Nigel Short's preview of the 2013 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen beginning November 9 in Chennai. You can read the first part of the chess preview on our site.

Nigel Short Preview - Part 2 in Indian Express

Energy of youth vs years of wisdom
There is an immense self confidence — which to the uninitiated borders on arrogance — about Magnus Carlsen. Summarising the prospects of Viswanathan Anand and himself in an interview for "Chess" magazine, earlier this year, the 22 year-old Norwegian stated "The difference (between us) is that I've been winning tournaments and he's been holding on to his title. It will be an interesting clash between two different ideas of what constitutes the best player in the world".

It was perhaps not the politest thing to say about one of the greatest players in history, but then again it was probably not intended to be. The psychological warfare has already begun. From Anand's perspective, the most wounding aspect of this remark — ignoring the not-so-subtle reminder that Carlsen will easily remain the number one ranked player regardless of whether he wins or not — is that it is essentially true.

Carlsen is blessed with a superb memory, an uncanny sense of harmony and a sharp tactical eye. In terms of pure chess attributes, however, I don't think he holds any advantage, whatsoever, over the defending champion.

I agree with the Russian Grandmaster, Vladimir Kramnik, that Carlsen's main assets are youthful energy, a good nervous system, incredible motivation and a deadly killer instinct. Such qualities cannot be dismissed as a bag of tricks: World Championships are played under tremendous pressure and these things really do count for a lot.

Tough nut

Anand is not devoid of chances though. His vast match experience should hold him in good stead. He has come a very long way from the fluffy, little rabbit who disintegrated the moment Kasparov put him under pressure in 1995. He has added toughness, resilience and wisdom to his armoury. Playing one-on- one for weeks on end is a true test of character and is a far cry from psychologically less demanding tournament play — where Carlsen excels.

Indeed the Norwegian is practically a virgin in this demanding field. Matches require deep introspection because any flaws will be ruthlessly exposed. He will have to learn on the job. Other factors may also work in Anand's favour. For a start he is playing on home soil with a partisan crowd. Huge numbers of cheering fans can occasionally be a distraction but, in this case, they ought to give his confidence a welcome boost. Both climate and cuisine could pose problems for Carlsen.

Your writer has plenty of experience of playing in India — winning the Commonwealth Championship twice in Mumbai and once in Nagpur. Nevertheless, on a couple of other occasions, I have suffered the most debilitating food poisoning, as Europeans are sometimes prone to do. In case Carlsen succumbs as I have done previously, he will not be able to beat his grandmother, let alone a player of Anand's class.

Alert to the danger, Carlsen has included a chef in his entourage. Some people have ridiculed this move, saying he should enjoy the delights of local offerings — apparently forgetting he is not going to Chennai as a tourist, but to do an important job. As a prophylactic measure it is probably money very well spent.

With the same concern in mind, his manager has negotiated an optional "time-out" for each participant, in case of illness. This is not popular with the public and goes against the trend of ever shorter matches, but is by no means unprecedented historically. Indeed, in the great Karpov-Kasparov matches of the 80s and 90s each player could call a temporary halt to proceedings on no less than 3 occasions.

Age differenceAnand's last purely chess advantage is perhaps his opening play. Despite being from an older generation, he is adept at extremely sophisticated computer preparation. His dismantling of Kramnik in 2008 was a prime example of nuking an opponent before he could even begin to show his capabilities.

Carlsen's openings choices are far more intelligent and cunning than he is generally given credit for. Nevertheless he is not renowned as a theoretician and is much less likely to unleash devastating analysis-engine based novelties. With his immense versatility, however, he will probably be content to dodge the missiles, choosing less predictable variations, supremely confident in his own ability simply to outplay Anand from equal positions.

If Carlsen succeeds in this objective, I honestly don't see any way out for Vishy. He is conceding a colossal age advantage and sooner or later it is going to show. Chess is not an academic discipline where one can display one's accumulated erudition in written papers at one's leisure: it is a sport performed in the spotlight under enormous pressure.

For the past three years the sure-footedness that characterised Anand's finest period has largely deserted him. I don't doubt it is possible to raise his game, for this, the toughest match of his career. Whether he is likely to, though, is another matter. Eventually the end of the road comes to even the greatest of batsmen.

-- Nigel David Short MBE is a British Grandmaster, chess columnist, chess coach and chess commentator. Short earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 19, and was ranked third in the world by FIDE from January 1988 to July 1989. In 1993 he became the first English player to play a World Chess Championship match.)