Viswanathan Anand up against a talented opponent Magnus Carlsen, who is almost half his age, when he defends his World Championship title in Chennai next month, has the experience and temperament to trump any adversary, according to the Grandmasters from Bengal.
“It will definitely be an interesting match,” says GM Sandipan Chanda, who is part of Anand’s team of ‘seconds’. “When it comes to a World championship tie, every match is different and every player is different, but the pressure remains the same,” he said.
“The importance of the contest remains undiminished, no matter who the contestants are. My favourite is Anand,” says Sandipan, declining to give any more details as he is advised against speaking on anything about the preparation.
No clear favourite
Anand’s former team member, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, says there are no clear favourites and the one who is prepared best for the event will have the advantage.
“I think it is 50-50, like every World championship match. When you are looking at a match of this magnitude, both the opponents belong to a different category, they are legends in their own right,” says Ganguly.
“I am wholeheartedly supporting Anand, I will be rooting for him and will be helping him in every possible way,” says the old comrade.
“There are positives on both sides. You may say Magnus is young but Anand has more experience. You may say Magnus has won more tournaments but Anand has more match experience. There is no end to such arguments,” Surya says.
“Everything in the championship will depend on the form of a player during the match and their pre-match preparation. I really don’t think statistics or records matter much here,” he adds.
“I think it will be one of the toughest matches for Anand. One of the main reasons is that Magnus is very young and is in excellent shape. His biggest advantage is that he can play in any kind of position.
Magnus is versatile
“Most of the players have certain areas of strengths like someone is good in the middle game or someone is good at the endgame.
“But Magnus is a versatile player and can play in any position so he will pose one of the most difficult challenges for Anand,” says GM Deep Sengupta.
“It will be a tough challenge for Anand as we know Magnus has been in terrific form for the last few years. He is No. 1 in the world at the moment but at the same time Anand has won the last three World championship titles and knows how stay on top.
“He beat players like (Vladimir) Kramnik, (Vaselin) Topalov and (Boris) Gelfand to win the previous three titles.
“All the three were top-notch Grandmasters and this record gives Anand the advantage over Magnus, who does not have the experience of playing a World championship match,” says GM Neelotpal Das.
“Anand is a five-time World Champion and Magnus is the current World No. 1. It will be a very close match. Anand will be my favourite because of his experience in match play,” says GM Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury.