Young Indian Grandmaster and former Under-10 world champion, Sahaj Grover is surprised at Magnus Carlsen of Norway being made such a big favourite in the forthcoming World Chess championship match against Viswanathan Anand and says the Indian has a great chance.
“No one can doubt or have any apprehension on Carlsen as Anand’s challenger but from what I have been reading, it looks like Carlsen is a huge favourite, which in my opinion is not entirely correct,” the 18-year-old told PTI.
“Carlsen has been at the top of his game for many years but is yet to play a match of this stature. I am not saying he can’t beat Anand but his chances should be about level.
“He is in great form but Anand has proved himself to be a great match player. How many favoured Anand to beat Kramnik in 2008? Yet he did it with awesome ease. Anand has a definite chance against Carlsen,” he added.
A fan of Bobby Fischer, Grover said Anand is one of the few greats in the world.
“The last few decades have been changing times in the world of chess. Historically Fischer played well ahead of his time and Kasparov tormented the opposition like no one else.
In the last 40 years these two apart from Anatoly Karpov (former world champion) can be classified as players who ruled the chess world in their prime.
When we look at others, only Anand has matched these standards. Who has won the world championship five times in various formats?” Grover asked.
Only Mikhail Botwinnik of Russia won the world championship in match and tournament format prior to Anand.
The chess world was in a crisis for the top position when Alexander Alekhine died as the world champion in 1946.
In 1948, a match tournament was organised with five top players of the world, which was won by Botwinnik. Subsequently the Russian great went on to defend the title in matches thereafter.
Anand, in fact, has done one better. The Indian ace has won the world championship in knockout format too, often criticised as the ‘lottery’, apart from winning three matches and a world championship match tournament in 2007.
“It’s hard to have a clear pick when experience clashes with youth, things can go downhill for either of them in no time. I guess the defining moment will be either when Anand showcases a brilliant piece of home work to win or when Carlsen is able to outplay the Indian from an equal position,” noted Grover.
Preparing for the next World Under-18 championship at Al-Ain in December, Grover will be watching and rooting for Anand from home.
“I haven’t really seen much chess on TV, so this would be a first, also there will be live webcast for me. I am just going to watch from home and root for Anand. I read somewhere that Anand mentioned that he wanted to win it for Indian Chess. Amen!” said the budding star.