The most awaited chess event of the year inaugurates merely in a fortnight’s time. Two of the strongest players in the world of chess will battle it out for the highest honours. Here’s a brief look at the match.
Venue: Hyatt Regency, Chennai, India.
Format: The match will be of 12 games with 1 point for a win, 1/2 point for a draw and 0 point for a loss. In short the first to reach 6 and a half points will be the winner. In case of a tie at 6 points apiece, the match will go to a tie-break.
Time Control: The time control shall be 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting after move 61.
Tie-break: If the scores are tied after the 12 regular games, there will be a tie-break. A new drawing of colours will take place and 4 tie-break games shall be played. The games shall be with 25 minutes for each player with 10 seconds increment after each move. In case of a tie in those 4 games, 2 games with 5 minutes for each player with 3 seconds increment will be played and if there is no winner after five (5) such matches one sudden-death game will be played.
Sudden-death game: The player with the white pieces shall receive 5 minutes and the player with the black pieces shall receive 4 minutes whereupon, after the 60th move, both players shall receive an increment of 3 seconds starting from move 61. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared the winner. The player who wins the drawing of lots will choose the colour.
It is very rare in a chess World Championship match that the challenger is considered the favourite. That fact just gives you the idea of the level at which this man is playing at the mere age of 22. The chess world is lucky to have such a genius amongst them. His charismatic personality off the board combined with his gladiator-like fighting attitude on it makes him one of the most exciting personalities in chess currently. His positional mastery, endurance and his impeccable end-game technique along with his consistency have helped him surpass chess legend Garry Kasparov’s (who has been rumoured to be helping Carlsen for this match) record of the highest Elo rating in chess of 2851. His current FIDE rating stands at 2870. Unlike other current top players Carlsen does not have a pet opening.
Carlsen is known for his unpredictability as he very rarely opts for main-line positions. But against a formidable opponent like Anand, it would be naive of him to leave openings unprepared. His main strength lies in the endgame where he has the ability to snatch a win from dead-drawn positions. His age, fitness and stamina allow him to be really good at end-games. His main challenge against Vishy will lie in his time-management and overcoming Vishy’s preparation. But one thing with Carlsen is guaranteed – he fights until the very end of the game.
Recent form: 1st in the Sinquefield Cup, 2nd in the Tal Memorial, tied 2nd with Hikaru Nakamura in Norway, tied 1st with Vladimir Kramnik in the Candidates tournament in London and 1st outright in the Tata Steel Chess tournament at Wijk aan Zee.
Positives: Endgame Prowess, physical and mental fitness, positional mastery and unpredictability.
Negatives: Inexperience in match play and sometimes over-ambitious.
The reigning world champion is oddly considered the underdog in this match, mainly due to his recent form and his age. But the Tiger of Madras can pounce any time without any warning. Vishy’s experience in match-play is vast and incredibly good. Of the 5 World Championship matches that he has played, he has won 3. His two losses came against Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. Known for his mesmerizing rapid play and his accurate detailed opening preparation, Vishy might not be the rating favourite but he certainly is a force to be reckoned with. Notable chess experts believe Carlsen is just too good for Vishy and his age is against him. With the whole country supporting him, Vishy will look to prove those critics wrong.
Team: GM Sandipan Chanda, GM Radoslaw Wojtascek, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov and GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly.
Recent form: Tied 8th in the Tal Memorial in Moscow, Tied 4th at the Norway Chess festival, 3rd at the Alekhine Memorial held in Paris and Moscow, 2nd at the Zurich Chess Classic, 1st in the Grenke Chess Classic and tied 3rd at the Tata Steel Chess tournament held in Wijk Aan Zee.
Positives: Superior opening preparation, experience, sharp tactical play and resourceful endgame play.
Negatives: Complacency and inconsistency.
Anand – 6, Carlsen – 3 and 20 draws
In conclusion, this match offers a lot of excitement and promises to be something that chess fans will enjoy till the last drop. Two massive personalities going head-to-head for the battle of the highest honours – it doesn’t get bigger than this.