Anand on Carlsen: the greatest talent I have seen

by ChessBase
4/10/2013 – In interviews with the Indian press World Champion Vishy Anand has admitted that Magnus Carlsen will be a very tough challenger. Anand, who has around 1.2 billion ardent fans, leads the statistics of games the two have played against each other, but the Norwegian is considered the favorite. One of Europe's biggest bookmakers gives him a 66 percent chance of winning the title.

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It was India's multiple World chess champion Viswanathan Anand reacting to his challenger Magnus Carlsen's impressions about their impending match. "The difference is, I'm winning tournaments and Anand is holding on to this title," Carlsen had told reporters in London after winning the Candidates meet. "It will be an interesting clash between these two ideas as to what constitutes the best player in the world."

Chess has a tradition of champion taking on the challenger directly in the title clash without having to play early rounds or qualifying tournament. Anand had been at the wrong end of this privilege from 1995 to 2008 until he defeated Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn. "It's a wonderful privilege," said Anand. "I'm not denying it. In a sense, I earned it by winning it in Mexico and then defending it a few times. Those eight guys in the Candidates tournament really put in the hard work to play against me."

When Carlsen pulled out of the last World Championship cycle in 2010, he wrote to FIDE:

"In my opinion privileges should in general be abolished and a future World Championship model should be based on a fair fight between the best players in the World, on equal terms. This should apply also to the winner of the previous World Championship, and especially so when there are several players at approximately the same level in the world elite. Why should one player have one out of two tickets to the final to the detriment of all remaining players in the world? Imagine that the winner of the 2010 Football World Cup would be directly qualified to the 2014 World Cup final, while rest of the teams would have to fight for the other spot. The proposal to abolish the privileges of the World Champion in the future is not in any way meant as criticism of, or an attack on, the reigning World Champion Viswanathan Anand, who is a worthy World Champion, a role model, chess colleague and a highly esteemed opponent."

When Anand tried to win the 1997 Fide knockout title in Groningen and Lausanne, Anatoly Karpov was sitting at the perch without having to qualify. The Russian wasn't the higher-rated player than Anand at the time. The situation is reversed now with Carlsen better player on rating. However, unlike Anand against Karpov, the Norwegian will get enough time to prepare for his match.

Despite Carlsen benefitting from 'more wins' rule against Vladimir Kramnik at the Candidates matches, both Carlsen and Anand agreed on one thing: in case of a tie, the champion should be decided by tiebreaks on the board.

Source: Times of India

He is nearly half your age (Carlsen is 22, Anand 43)...

Yes. In that regard, he is a completely different opponent. The players I beat to win the world title in the last five years (Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010 and Boris Gelfand in 2012) are all from my generation. The broad outlook of our game is similar. The prospect of facing Carlsen is a new one for me in many, many ways. I will have to figure out my strategy.

There is talk that Garry Kasparov could help Carlsen...

I am not going to bother about who is going to help who. I will play a few tournaments before the world championship (in November). My job is to do my best.

You have a good record against Carlsen. Does that mean anything going into a world championship?

I have a good record. We are actually even. The more relevant factor is his recent results. I believe that makes him a favourite, but who cares who is the favourite!

What exactly are Carlsen's strengths?

He has the ability to play in any position. He is a complete all-rounder in chess. And he has taken that definition to an altogether different level. You put him in any position and he will stay clam and play. There are players who specialise in this and that. Carlsen is not like that. In fact, in that regard, he is ahead of me as well. I would focus on this area. He is simply the greatest talent I have seen.

Are you happy you will be facing Carlsen and not Aronian?

Both of them are huge talents. It's a very difficult prospect. I would not say I would have preferred one over the other. Actually, I would like to point out that even if it were Kramnik, it would have been a tough task. Kramnik looked very good in the last few rounds of the Candidates Tournament. He seems to have made so much progress.

So he's not the player you beat in 2008?

This Kramnik is totally different.

The match could be held in India...

If it is indeed so, I am delighted. It would be nice to have one big chess championship in India. Of course, there will be a lot of pressure on me. But I will have to cope with it.

Source: DNA

Nettavisen (Norway): He is a giant, a folk hero

For some 1.2 billion people this man is unique

Magnus Carlsen is a familiar name to most people, even those who are not used to moving pawns and bishops across a checkered board. Viswanathan Anand is probably not as well known. But Viswanathan Anand is considered as one of the greatest chess legends – of all time. And when you use the word legend, this is actually justified. Carlsen's Norwegian manager Espen Agdestein described the 43-year-old as a folk hero. "Anand is a gentleman. Very correct. A true giant in India, a folk hero. Magnus has a very good relationship with him and has actually helped him in connection with World Cup matches. The 43-year-old will be a formidable opponent for the young Carlsen and a tough obstacle on the road to the World Championship title."

Anand leads the statistics of games the two have played against each other, but since Magnus became the world number one a little over three years ago he has not lost a game against Anand at classical time controls. The Norwegian is considered the favorite: Unibet, one of Europe's biggest bookmakers, think there is 66 percent chance that Carlsen will walk away with the title. They give him 1.50 in odds and Anand get 2.40 in odds for victory.

Full report here (in Norwegian)

Also worth reading

  • Times of India: Pieter Heine Nielsen won't work for Magnus Carlsen: Vishwanathan Anand – Vishy Anand's trusted second Pieter Heine Nielsen won't work with Challenger Magnus Carlsen during the Indian's defence of World chess crown. "Nielsen will not be in either team," said Anand here on Thursday. "That's the deal. Nielsen is a man of integrity. So I expect that to be the case."

  • New York Times: Shrewd Marketing Moves for Top-Ranked Chess Player – After 22-year-old Magnus Carlsen dispatched him in 36 deadly moves over three speedy hours in their first game at the 2013 Candidates’ Tournament, the Russian grandmaster Peter Svidler spent a moment musing on why, to be blunt about it, Carlsen receives so much more attention than he does. He is not jealous, he said, of Carlsen’s high profile, No. 1 ranking and lucrative sponsorship deals (“Should I be?”). Svidler is 36, and ranked 14th, but has no companies clamoring to shower him with cash. “He’s exceptionally good, and so he gets extra opportunities,” Svidler said. “Somehow, I’m less marketable than Magnus. I’m somewhat less young, and somewhat more Soviet.”

  • Times of India: Fide awards Anand-Carlsen world title match to Chennai – The November 6-26 event will be a 12-round affair, but in case of a tie, Anand and Carlsen will play four Rapid games. If it's a tie even then, four Blitz games will follow and if the deadlock is not broken after that, the Armageddon (sudden death, where a draw is enough for black while white has to win) will determine the eventual winner. ... "We are happy that the state government has come forward for the second time to host the championship," Anand's wife Aruna told the TOI on Monday. "Anand is excited about playing in front of the home crowd. The state's backing sometimes gives you the much needed push," she added.

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