World Chess Championship 2013: Why I think Anand will win.

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:

Viswanathan Anand will likely celebrate another World Championship with his beautiful wife Aruna.
Viswanathan Anand will likely celebrate another World Championship with his beautiful wife Aruna.

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.

Ratings

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

Youthfulness

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.

Match Play

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.

Anand’s Legacy

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.

Magnus Carlsen will likely benefit from defeat in his first attempt at the world chess championship.
Magnus Carlsen will likely benefit from defeat in his first attempt at the world chess championship.

The official site for the 2013 FIDE World Chess Championship.

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

13 thoughts on “World Chess Championship 2013: Why I think Anand will win.

    1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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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