Saturday, November 16, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Soccer for Carlsen, family for Anand
By Ashok Venugopal | ENS - CHENNAI
Published: 12th November 2013 03:23 AM
Last Updated: 12th November 2013 03:23 AM
‘All work and no play makes a person dull’ goes a famous adage; which is all the more true in sports, in particular chess.
Chess is such a mentally demanding sport where fatigue and stress are much more than what a person experiences in any outdoor sport. These days, chess players make it a point to relax on off days to rejuvenate and emerge fresh for the next battle.
Monday being a rest day in their World Championship duel, both Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen decided to relax for the major part of the day. The match being billed as the biggest after Bobby Fischer vs Boris Spassky in 1972 has generated a lot of interest and in the process has added pressure on the players.
Anand, playing in his hometown and not having been in great form in the last year or so, has been under great pressure to defend his crown. On the other hand, Carlsen, the World No 1 and lauded by many as the next Garry Kasparov, is under pressure to keep his reputation intact. The Norwegian said openly on Sunday that he was under great stress and he needed to unwind after two tough games.
Sources said that Carlsen, after watching the EPL on Sunday, woke up late and had ‘brunch’. It is believed that Carlsen habitually, during off days, wakes up around noon. Some say that he has his lunch about 90 minutes before the match and sleeps as much as possible before the start of the match. It is said Carlsen believes that his mind works best for 4 to 5 hours after he wakes up.
In other words, people close to Carlsen say that sound sleep is like tonic for the Norwegian who does not follow a regular sleeping pattern like Anand. So Carlsen, after a late lunch on Monday and after hanging out in the hotel for sometime, chose to play some outdoor sport.
Carlsen by nature likes to sweat it out in a natural way by playing some field games. One person, who has known Carlsen for a long time, states that he has a natural compulsion to play some outdoor game or the other. He is not like many other chess players who prefer the cool confines of the hotel room. So late afternoon, Carlsen and his father, along with his security personnel, headed for the Santhome School, which is near the Marina beach.
He played football, and also basketball, for more than an hour.
Around 5.30 pm, he headed back to the hotel still in his shorts, dripping with sweat and dirt all over his shoes. Carlsen also likes to hit the gym regularly at the hotel.
“I have seen Carlsen in the gym of the hotel, but not met Anand there yet,” said Grandmaster Tejas Bakre of Ahmedabad who is spending a vacation in the city, enjoying the WCC.
Meanwhile, Anand had a quiet day with his family. It is learnt that Anand, during his stay, has been eating food from the hotel even though his house is hardly three km from the WCC venue. Sources said that he likes Italian and Chinese food apart from Indian food. Anand is also particular about his tea, which he takes during the match. However, his logistics manager Hans-Walter Schmitt, of Germany, wanted to have a feel of the city.
“We plan to go around the city and take chess-related and world chess championship match-related pictures in Chennai,” said Schmitt.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
World Chess C’ship: Anand caught off guard as game two ends in draw
Defending champion Viswanathan Anand was surprised by Magnus Carlsen’s opening as he played out a tame draw against his challenger with white pieces in the second game of the World Chess Championship in Chennai today.
World number one Carlsen showed that he was made of sterner stuff and pulled back the attention on himself with an easiest of draws against Anand, who played with his first white in the match. The first game, in which Anand played with black pieces, was also a drawn affair yesterday.
The scores are now tied 1-1 after two games and there are 10 more games to go under Classical time control in this Rs 14 crore prize money championship.
Just like Anand’s mesmerising work in the opening game yesterday, it was Carlsen all the way as Anand could not do anything.
“It’s my turn to offer a slight apology today. I had to be a bit prudent but things will get interesting,” Anand said after avoiding any undue risk that might have led to wild complexities out of a Caro Kann defense.
The local hero agreed that the opening was a surprise for him and even more the variation chosen by Carlsen.
It was a repetition of a game played by Anand against Chinese Ding Liren some time back and Anand spent a lot of time thinking about various complicated variations but could not be sure of himself.
The easier way out was to play solid, as Carlsen did when posed with slightest difficulty and the draw was up for grabs for the Norwegian.
While the first game lasted just 16 moves, this one went on till the 25th but the result of the game had been forecasted by many much before that.
Carlsen’s surprise opening apparently took Anand completely off guard and the world champion will now have to look at some new options to figure out the Caro Kann.
The variation that Carlsen chose has tendencies to go for wild-play which is a major shift from the Carlsen camp according to general perception that the Norwegian plays well in dry positions.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Anand seeks sixth title at World Chess Championship
PTI | Nov 8, 2013, 07.20 PM IST
CHENNAI: Billed as the most high-profile clash in chess history in more than 40 years between defending champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the World Chess Championship match begins on Saturday with the experts divided over who will walk away with the coveted title.
The hype surrounding the match between the ageing five-time champion Anand and 22-year-old world number one Carlsen, comparable to the historic clash between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in 1972, will come to an end when the two rivals take on each other in the opening game at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Saturday.
Carlsen has the advantage of playing white in the opener but that may not count much as both players get six white and black games in this 12-game November 9-28 contest.
Anand has seen similar situations before while Carlsen is playing his first match in a World Championship. So, while the Norwegian enjoys the tag of a favourite, his mannerisms thus far have suggested that he is gullible like any other youngster in a certain sense.
Twirling in his chair, scratching his head while answering questions during the first press conference on Friday, Carlsen gave the impression of someone tense but exuded confidence once the tete-a-tete was over.
Anand, who has won World Championship matches in 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, is used to open with black pieces in World Championship matches.
Against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in Bonn in 2008 and against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in 2010, Anand had started with black, which is known as a slightly unfavourable colour in the game, and yet won in style. In 2012 though, Anand had white in game one against Boris Gelfand of Israel.
Seeking his sixth title, Anand looked upbeat ahead of the biggest challenge of his life while Carlsen seemed to get the game going. The mind games have just begun and much would unfold once the match starts on Saturday.
Whether Anand's preparation holds him in good stead or Carlsen will play his typical long games to grind out the reigning world champion Indian will have to be seen.
Anand, the undisputed world champion since 2007, faces a strong challenge from the Norwegian sensation in one of the most awaited and most followed 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."
Having won five world titles, Anand said his experience could come in handy in the match.
"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 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.
For Anand, there is an extra motivation to win the match, according to legendary chess player Garry Kasparov.
"While the world champion has never given any importance to matters of chess history or his legacy, he must know that his entire career will get an extraordinary new dimension should he beat the Norwegian wunderkind against the odds," he said.
While Anand has this chance of reinventing himself once more, a motivated Carlsen though should know that he will be world champion one day or the other.
"The difference (between us) is that I have been winning tournaments and he (Anand) has 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," Carlsen had said.
In all, 12 games will be played in the 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.
The players will play two games on the trot followed by a rest day till 10th game and for the last two games, there is rest day after each game. If needed, the tiebreak games will be played on November 28 followed by the closing ceremony.
There is a special illness clause which can delay the match. In case a player reports sick, he has the right to postponement for a day. However, chances of it being used are minimal unless, health wise, something drastically goes wrong for either player.
The match was officially opened on Friday by Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha. The Tamil Nadu Government is the official sponsors of the match and have given a cap of Rs 29 crore as the total budget which is inclusive of a prize fund of around Rs 14 crores.
Meanwhile, the final preparations for the much-awaited clash were almost done and the players will be behind a glass cube when the first game begins at 3pm IST on Saturday.
Glass cube was first introduced in the Masters Chess tournament in Bilbao, Spain. The idea is to keep noises from the spectators away from the players. This effective technique does not even let the sound of a huge sneeze sneak in.
The games will be beamed live through internet as well as on Doordarshan's sports channel. The commentary team has the likes of former world champion Susan Polgar, International Master Lawrence Trent and Tania Sachdev.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Pioneer meets prodigy in battle of masterminds
By R Srinivasa Raghavan - CHENNAI
Published: 07th November 2013 12:48 PM
Last Updated: 07th November 2013 12:48 PM
The World Chess Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, which is starting here on Saturday, has created a buzz that has not been witnessed since the Kasparov-Karpov duels in the 80s.
Despite Sachin Tendulkar closing in on his milestone and farewell Test, chess is getting an equal share of coverage in the media with India’s most popular sport, which shows the growth of the game in the country and the impact of Anand’s five world titles.
Having won world titles in Tehran, Mexico City, Bonn, Sofia and Moscow, Anand will be eyeing his sixth title against Carlsen, who is the most talked about and most successful tournament player from the time he became the youngest world No 1 in 2010.
World title matches are getting tougher and tougher for Anand but his hunger remains undiminished. The Indian will face twin challenges – home expectations and an in-form Carlsen, who has accomplished much more than most of the former world champions at 22. Anand knows how to deal with pressure, having battled the likes of Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov but needs to raise his level to turn the tables on the Norwegian in the 12-game match.
Anand is the only top 10 player to have a better head-to-head record against Carlsen (6 wins, 3 losses, 20 draws). After losing four games, Carlsen beat Anand for the first time in 2009. However, Anand outwitted him twice in 2010 to gain ascendancy in one-on-one confrontations. With Carlsen’s rating soaring higher and higher, the Norwegian has had the better of Anand twice in the last five encounters, his victory in the Tal Memorial being quite impressive.
It has been a mixed year for Anand. Except for his last tournament in Moscow, Anand’s performances in Wijk Aan Zee (joint third), Baden Baden (first), Paris/St Petersburg (third) showed he is on the right track. Carlsen started the year with a bang, winning in Wijk Aan Zee. He followed it up by winning the Candidates and became the challenger to Anand.
Despite apparently having no shortcomings, Carslen showed mental fragility for the first time in the closing stages of the Candidates. Losing to Vassily Ivanchuk and Peter Svidler almost proved costly but Vladimir Kramnik’s loss in the final game and a better tie-break helped him cross the line. His third success came in the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, which was his last event before the big match.
Preparation has been the key for Anand’s success in world title matches. He has left no stone unturned working quietly for close to four months with his team of seconds in Bad Soden, which is close to Frankfurt. Chess has been interspersed with physical workouts and swimming. Carlsen doesn’t want to tweak his approach too much, which has worked wonders for him in tournaments. The Norwegian believes he can replicate the same approach in matches successfully.
Carlsen, who trained in Muscat to get acclimatised to the conditions in Chennai, doesn’t underestimate the value of preparation, but believes he can outwit any opponent with his skills. The general perception of Carlsen being the favourite because of the huge difference in ratings holds some value, but once the match starts, the player who imposes himself on the game and holds his nerve will be the gainer.
Hyatt Regency will have the honour of hosting the prestigious match. DD Sports will show the match live. There will be plenty of chess literature on the web, with the official website streaming the match live. The organisers have gone all out to celebrate the big occasion, conducting tournaments for amateurs as well as strong players.
Chennai becoming the venue was possible thanks to the initiative of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, who sanctioned `29 crores for the match. Impressed with the quick response, FIDE kept their promise and allotted the match to the city without any bid.
Viswanathan Anand is the underdog against Magnus Carlsen in a battle of ages, experience and playing styles
Experts and bookmakers have written off Viswanathan Anand, the reigning world chess champion for the past six years, even before his 12-game match against Magnus Carlsen, the world’s highest rated player, has begun.
The reason: Anand at 43, according to some experts, is past his prime, whereas Carlsen, who turns 23 at the end of this month, has been scaling new heights since 2010. Game one of the Fide (World Chess Federation) World Championship match starts in Chennai on Saturday.
Considering his strength, it is surprising that Carlsen hasn’t yet won the world title. That is partly because he sat out the 2012 World Championship in protest against its format, which he thought favoured the reigning champion.
He was in great form in 2012, won three high-level tournaments and pushed his rating—a measure of a player’s strength—to a record high. By the end of the year, Anand slipped on world rankings despite defending his world title. For two years till the middle of 2011, Anand and Carlsen played catch up with each other for the top position on the rating list, but since then the Norwegian has surged ahead.
Carlsen has only his own records to break, going forward. Rated 2,870, he is ahead of the No.2 in world rankings, Armenia’s Levon Aronian, by 69 points, and Anand, ranked eighth, by 95 points.
Going by statistics, Carlsen is already the strongest chess player the world has ever seen. He says he is still enjoying the game, which means he will rule the world of chess for many more years. Welcome to what former world champion Garry Kasparov had predicted as the “Carlsen era” of chess.
This match is being billed by commentators as the most anticipated after the Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky gladiatorial duel of 1972 at the height of the Cold War. Why?
Anand is undoubtedly the underdog, but he is going to come with truckloads of lab work. Sometimes the research could be lethal: Anand faced it himself when Kasparov routed him with homework in a 1995 match. The Indian grandmaster is meticulous with his homework. At one point, he has even worked with Carlsen ahead of a match, so he knows how his opponent’s mind works.
Carlsen has trained under and practised with various people, including Kasparov, but typically not for long. He abruptly terminated the arrangement with Kasparov because he found the Russian’s coaching too stifling for his own style of playing. An intuitive player, Carlsen is known to dislike chess-playing programmes and the training camps that most world title challengers would go to ahead of a match.
Unlike other top players, Carlsen is known not to focus on the opening moves: he would only make sure that he doesn’t get into a horrible position early in the game. His real strength, say experts, is his ability to carve out wins even from sterile positions. But every now and then, his strength becomes his Achilles’ heel: Carlsen is known to overreach and sometimes, ends up losing. He said in a recent interview that he makes mistakes in every game. Just that his opponents aren’t smart enough to seize the opportunity.
Playing before a home crowd in a World Championship final for the first time, Anand will come with his best preparation ever and unless he collapses under performance anxiety, he is not going to go down without a fight.
It may not be as easy for Carlsen as one would think looking at the bookmakers’ odds on this match.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Official website and LIVE commentary: http://chennai2013.fide.com
Official commentators: GM Susan Polgar and IM Lawrence Trent
I will have daily updates and behind the scene tidbits right here on my site (www.ChessDailyNews.com), as well as on my twitter account @SusanPolgar. Be sure to check it out.
Challenger: GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR 2870)
World Champion: GM Viswanathan Anand (IND 2775)
Best if 12 classical games
Time Control: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves
Add 60 minutes after move 40
Add 15 minutes +30 seconds inc. after move 60
Tie-break System: 4 games at 25 minutes and 10 seconds increment
If 2nd tiebreak is needed: 2 games at 5/3 (Max of 10 games)
If 3rd tiebreak is needed: 1 game at 5 mins (w) and 4 mins (b)
The winner will be declared World Champion of 2013 and 2014
Rules & Regulations for the FIDE World Championship Match (FWCM) 2013
The World Chess Federation (FIDE) is the governing body of the World Chess Championship. For the purpose of creating the rules and regulations, communicating with the players and negotiating with the organizer, the FIDE President has nominated the FIDE Commission for World Championships and Olympiads (hereinafter referred to as WCOC).
Upon recommendation by the WCOC, the body responsible for any changes to the regulations of the World Championship Cycle events is the FIDE Presidential Board.
The FIDE World Chess Championship Match (hereinafter referred to as FWCM) is the final event of the World Championship cycle. The two participants are World Champion V. Anand (India) and his challenger GM Magnus Carlsen who qualified from the Candidates Tournament 2013. The winner of the FWCM 2013 will be declared World Champion for the period 2013-2014.