The majority of chess commentators seem to be figuring that Magnus Carlsen will defeat Viswanathan Anand and win the World Championship in his first attempt. This is likely do to the fact that, lately, Carlsen has been playing better chess than the current World Champion. Certainly, the challenger has proven that he is capable of playing chess at the level of a world chess champion and Magnus is the current “number one.” However, the smart money will be placed on Viswanathan Anand to retain his title. Here’s why:
Home Field Advantage
The match will take place in Chennai, India. When FIDE announced that the match would be in Anand’s home country, I felt this gave the current World Champion a decisive advantage. In fact, FIDE could not have selected a more advantageous location for Anand than his home town. The young Norwegian will be more distracted in India and his team will need to work hard to keep him comfortable in such an exotic location. Magnus Carlsen is used to performing under pressure but being completely surrounded by Anand’s fans will certainly make even the toughest competitor feel uneasy.
Too much is being made of Magnus Carlsen being rated number one in the world. Magnus’ rating proves that he is the future of chess but he has acquired his number one ranking through tournament play. Anand has played very poorly in tounaments since becoming World Champion for reasons that are easy to explain. Tournaments to Anand are a necessary distraction from competing in world championship matches. Anand’s priority number one is retaining his world title. Viswanathan rarely plays any of his critical innovations when it does not help him win a World Championship. Because he employs a weaker version of himself during the vast majority of his rated games, Anand’s rating does not accurately reflect his true strength
Many see this match as the chance for chess to move completely into the twenty-first century. Indeed, if the “Mozart of Chess” manages to dethrone the old champion he will be the king of chess. While no one will dispute that being young is incredibly advantageous in chess, it is also common knowledge that young chess players also perform more inconsistently. If Magnus plays his best chess, he has a reasonable chance of winning the match. However, we can be sure that Viswanathan Anand will be in top form and will bring the consistency of a seasoned pro to every game. I believe Anand’s experience and wisdom will more than make up for Magnus Carlsen’s youthful energy.
As stated above, Anand is unbelievably good at match play. Magnus Carlsen has limited experience in matches and has never felt the pressure of playing for a world championship. Coupled with the aforementioned home field advantage, this should be enough for Anand to take an early lead in the match and then close it out before Magnus ever gets comfortable.
This represents the first time that Anand has had a chance to play a World Championship for “his people.” Anand is a national hero in India and I believe nothing is more important to the future of Indian chess than Anand retaining the World Championship title in Chennai. A failure on his part will be a seen as a failure for Indian chess. FIDE’s gift to India is the chance for their greatest player to establish his name as one of the greatest chess champions ever while playing in his hometown. I believe Anand is acutely aware of what is at stake and will rise to the occasion.
As for Magnus, perhaps failing in his first attempt at winning the World Championship will be the best thing for his chess future. A defeat on chess highest stage will make the “Mozart of Chess” work even harder to ensure it doesn’t happen the second time around. The next time Magnus plays for the World Championship, one can only hope that FIDE chooses a site that is fair for both competitors.
The official site for the 2013 FIDE World Chess Championship.
13 thoughts on “World Chess Championship 2013: Why I think Anand will win.”
Too much hyperbole to be encouraging. Be real.
I am being “real.” Now is the time for predictions. The match is in Chennai. That’s hardly a neutral location. Anand has already proven that he is a “tiger” when it comes to defending his title. Anand will win.
Home Field Advantage – sure, but its not like Carlsen will be in many places other than the 5 star hotel during the matches and I doubt the atmosphere is too “exotic” there. It’s much too overrated – remember Anand losing his match against Kamsky in India? Carlsen underperformed the only superGM level tournament he played in Norway, it;s not like crowds of people will be there to cheer for the home team; chess is not football or cricket.
Ratings – had it been a difference of about 10-20 points, then you could argue that ratings are not that relevant, but the difference between the two is no less than 95 points (!) and no one in the world can argue that such a difference stems from Anand hiding his prep – which he is not – remember Aronian – Anand from Tata Steel 2013? That was a win due to prep and prep only. Also remember Hou Yifan Anand from the same tournament – a winning endgame which Anand couldn’t convert.
Youthfulness – to name this as an advantage for Anand is a bit bizarre. Carlsen will never accept draws (which Gelfand did) in equalish middle/endgames and will keep pushing Anand to the limits of exhaustion. Maybe if they get to the rapids then Anand’s experience will be an advantage, but the chances of that happening are rather small.
Match Play – is Anand really “unbelievably good” in match play? He is good, but let’s not forget he was not able to beat Gelfand (outside the top 15 when they were playing the match) in classical time controls, so let’s not push the agenda here too, it’s obvious the 2013 Anand is not as strong as the 2008 Anand.
Anand’s Legacy – why would this be an extra advantage then the home field advantage, I can not understand. It’s pretty much the same thing, Anand will push himself to his limits (or try) because he’s in India and he’s got a title do defend, but he is not going to become a better chess player than he can be given the present status.
Magnus Carlsen disagrees: http://www.chess.com/news/carlsen-quotdeeply-disappointedquot-by-fide-2898 FIDE is fortunate that he took the high ground and did not drop out of the match. As for not leaving the hotel, he had better unless he wants Anand to know everything his team is working on. India is not at the level of the U.S. as far as espionage but they are very tech savvy and, imho, will be “listening in.”
I think there is no Home Field Advantage…this article explains why..they play in a glass vacuum and the referee is neutral and not influenced by the crowd. Carlsen is very well travelled and with his full time team will have all logistics covered.
it is true that Anand gives his best only in world championship! you will see him opening up his whole repertoire of chess knowledge in this tournament which is enormous! it will be a blend of classical chess; computer analyzed chess and his own innovation ! He may even desire to quit if he wins; to keep his reputation intact!
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