Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Word Championship: Anand - Carlsen 2013, Preview

I am excited about the upcoming world championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen. Like most world championship matches many of the games will be draws, but I expect they will be interesting draws. Unlike the last championship, neither player has a tremendous advantage in rapid play, so they will have incentive to win the match in regulation.

I want to make a blog post after each round, like I did for Anand vs Gelfand, but the games will be live very early in the morning for me. The first round is on November 9th at 3pm India time (GMT+5:30), which is 4:30am EST (GMT-5), and 3:30am for me here in the land of 10,000 lakes. (Link to official site for match)

This should be a very interesting match of experience and preparation (Anand) versus talent (Carlsen). Both of these players (like all super GMs) have loads of talent and experience, plus I am sure both are working very hard on match preparation. But in comparing the contestants, they do have relative strengths.

Carlsen is like Capablanca in that he seems to have a deep understanding of chess. He plays solid openings and accumulates advantages. I expect that Carlsen will play some new opening lines to lessen Anand's preparation advantage.

Anand is like Botvinnik. He is rich in experience and very good in his preparation.

I also expect that if Anand loses this match, he will, like Botvinnik, be the leading challenger for the next round.

The match will be held in Chennai, which is Anand's home town. This kind of home field advantage is rare in chess world championships. Anand's career has been very good for chess in India, and this may be FIDE's attempt to cement that success. Considering India's population and growing economy, I think we will all benefit from continuing popularity of chess in India.

After Bobby Fischer's departure, participation in chess declined in the USA. If Anand loses, I do not think that will happen to chess in India. Certainly, Anand will (continue to) behave better than Fischer whether he retains the title or loses it.

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