Anand, Carlsen Are In Chennai

Anand, Carlsen Are In Chennai
By Arvind Aaron

The players, defending champion Viswanathan Anand and challenger Magnus Carlsen of Norway are in Chennai and ready for the World Chess Championship match to start. While Carlsen is in the south of Chennai, relaxing in a resort, Anand and his team have occupied the places they ought to and are ready to handle the opening press meet before the event is inaugurated by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms J Jayalalithaa.

Although the arbiter called this as the battle of the generations, some of the previous 52 world championship title matches have had matches in which one player was older by 32 years. The Steinitz v Lasker match of 1894 had a 32-year difference. Also in the Botvinnik v Tal match, the age difference was also 25 years.

Age will not be a handicap for Anand who is at his prime. Carlsen’s magical middlegame play will be Anand’s bigger challenge. For Carlsen, young and inexperience is not a handicap either. Norway is more excited today than India was in 1995 when Anand played for the world title for the first time at the World Trade Center in New York.


Born December 11, 1969 at Chennai, Anand learnt the game from his mother at the age of six. Born November 30, 1990 at Oslo, Norway, Magnus learnt the game from his father at the age of five.

At 43, Anand is the older competitor and Carlsen who will turn 23 later this month is clearly the younger. When Sultan Khan, Punjab and India’s yesteryear great player was asked to compare world champions of his time, he said when they start to grow older they made more mistakes. But Lasker was champion until he was 58. Anand is one of the more fit players in the world and should draw inspiration from Lasker.

Tips For Anand

Considering the Indian to be the underdog, periodicals like the New In Chess which is largely read in the chess world have articles like “How To Beat Magnus Carlsen”. Issue No.7 of 2013 which has a large preview on the World Chess Championship has a nice material by Sergey Shipov and it is nothing but ideas for Anand and his team to handle the Norwegian wave.

Shipov asks the Indian team to review Carlsen’s lost games and draw ideas from it. He recalls that Anand’s wins against Carlsen were all sharp battles and not positional battles. It is three years since Anand last defeated Carlsen in a classical games is worth a noting point.

Sacrifices, mutual attack, thriving on unclear positions and the like were the types of positions in which the Indian defeated Carlsen in the past encounters. Shipov gives four basic points and they are very practical too. The first is to go for Carlsen’s throat in the opening, next is to keep queens on the board. Shipov refers Carlsen as an improvised version of Boris Spassky (world champion from 1969-1972).

Time Control

The time control for this match is two hours per players for the first 40 moves. Thereafter they get 60 minutes each for the next 20 moves. Finally, they will receive 15 minutes for the rest of the game and an increment of 30 seconds per move from the 61st turn. This control is called the old classical control.

Carlsen Reception At Chennai

Meanwhile, Carlsen had arrived from Norway via Muscat in Chennai on Nov 4, 2013 to a noisy welcome. He and his family members arrived and the reception from the media and chess lovers surprised them. He had perhaps not seen so many photographers and videographers in one shot!

Among those who were there to receive him were FIDE Vice President D.V. Sundar and the All India Chess Federation President J.C.D. Prabhakar. He was presented a “ponnadai” (shawl) as he took on some questions from the media and walked into the Hyatt Regency Hotel car which awaited him.

Carlsen’s team members had started to arrive in batches since November 2 when India was celebrating Diwali. His doctor, cook, accompanying journalists have all checked in and have started getting adjusted to the Indian time clock.

Both players are in Chennai and in the right time zone. Carlsen and Anand should be putting their final touches in preparation and revision. They will see each other on November 7 during the opening ceremony and the press conference that precedes that. The first handshake they make in India will be surely caught by the hundreds of cameras.