It will be Viswanathan Anand’s call whether to change his A-team or his team of seconds for his World Chess Championship match against holder Magnus Carlsen later this year, said Indian Grandmaster P. Harikrishna.
“Changing his team of seconds will be entirely Anand’s decision. During last year’s title match if his team of seconds had delivered what he had wanted, then there might not have been be any reason for him (Anand) to change,” Harikrishna, ranked 25th in the world, told IANS.
Harikrishna said changing a team of seconds every time won’t be a wise decision but the final decision rests with Anand. Harikrishna is also the second highest rated Indian chess player, with 2,726 elo points, after Anand, who has 2,785 elo points and is ranked third in the world.
Harikrishna picked Grandmaster Sandipan Chanda as the most creative of Anand’s seconds during last year’s title clash against Carlsen. Sandipan was also the second for Anand at the Candidates Tournament that Anand won and got the rights to challenge Carlsen again.
Besides Chanda, the other core members of Anand’s team during last year’s failed title defence were K. Sasikiran, Hungarian Grandmaster Peter Leko and Poland’s Radoslaw Wojtaszek.
Harikrishna said this time as a challenger Anand should have a mix of young and experienced players and also maintain a balance of aggressive and defensive style.
“It is not the question of having those who have beaten Carlsen in the team. On the other hand, Anand needs a player(s) who can think like Carlsen. However, having players who have beaten Carlsen in the team will be helpful,” he said.
Harikrishna said world top 10 players or any one with a rating of over 2,750 elo points can be a good second.
“Being a second is a tough job but a prestigious and well paying one. A good second can charge around 450 euros per day. If the second’s rating is also around 2,750, then it can even go up to 500—600 euros,” Harikrishna said.
Harikrishna wondered if Anand would adopt a different style when he faces Carlsen again.
“One would see a different Anand if he plays against Carlsen later this year like he had played at the candidates match. I think at the candidates tournament, Anand changed his style of play,” Harikrishna said.
Harikrishna said Anand not only played dynamic chess but also a good endgame in Russia during the candidates tournament.
“At that time, Anand’s strategy was to play safely while playing with black pieces to achieve a draw and try to win playing white.”
Harikrishna doesn’t see why Anand can’t regain his title if he enjoys his game without getting tensed.
“Carlsen enjoys his games. If Anand also enjoy the game without getting tensed up, then there will be great games between the two at the world title match later this year,” he said.