Two of India’s finest chess players, K. Sasikiran and Koneru Humpy on the World championship

Krishnan Sasikiran is convinced that it is going to be a cracker of a World championship.

“I expect some great chess from November 9 and it would be a close contest,” said Sasikiran, one of India’s strongest players. “And I am delighted that the World championship is being staged in Chennai, my hometown. I am looking forward to watching the match at Hyatt Regency.”

Sasikiran, ranked No. 85 in the world now with a FIDE rating of 2666 points, believes both Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen are going to find the match extremely tough. “As far as the World championship is concerned, I would say Anand has an edge because he has vast experience of playing in matches, while Carlsen has never been in a match. That is very important, I feel.”

He added that preparing for a match was an entirely different proposition than playing in tournaments. “We all know that Anand prepares hard for the World championship matches and that Carlsen has tried to stay away from the theory in the past,” he said. “But it would be wrong to assume that Carlsen would not change his routine for this match. It is after all the World championship, the most important event of a player’s career.”

Anand’s strength

Sasikiran said he would not be surprised if the match went full distance and reached the tie-breakers. “Yes, Anand has always been good in rapid chess, but I am not going to say that he would be the clear favourite if the match goes to the tie-breaker stage,” he said. “Carlsen is a tough customer always. He is a versatile player and handles all kinds of positions well. He is particularly good in simple positions and is great in ending.”

Humpy, the world’s No. 3 in women’s chess with 2618 points, said the Chennai World championship would be difficult to predict. “Anand and Carlsen are two different types of players,” she said. “Anand’s experience at the World championships would of course be very handy for him. The preparations are very important for a match like this and we have seen in the past how good Anand is in that area.”

Natural talent

But she said Carlsen would be up for the challenge from Anand. “He doesn’t like losing,” she said. “And we have to remember that he is a very stable player. He is a natural talent and has got an excellent middle game. And he is very good at ending too. To have a rating of 2870 is fantastic.”

Humpy, who has been a challenger of the Women’s World championship, said the Chennai match would be a huge boost for the sport in the country. “Like everyone else, I too am looking forward to it. It is going to be an exciting championship, no doubt.”

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