Viswanathan Anand approaches Sochi battle royale with positive feelings

Challenger Viswanathan Anand takes on defending champion Magnus Carlsen in the 2014 World Chess Championship in Sochi, Russia today.

By Dattaraj Thaly | Last Updated: Nov 07, 2014, 15:06 PM IST
Viswanathan Anand approaches Sochi battle royale with positive feelings

New Delhi: Challenger Viswanathan Anand takes on defending champion Magnus Carlsen in the 2014 World Chess Championship in Sochi, Russia today.

As the reigning world champion, Norwegian directly qualified for the World Chess Championship, while the Indian emerged as his challenger after winning the Candidates Tournament.

Candidates Tournament 2014 comprised of eight players participating in a double round-robin format that took place in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, from 13 March to 31 March 2014.

Since Anand lost last year's world championship, he made it to the Candidates Tournament by virtue of finishing as a runner-up.

The eight players part of this tournament were vying for a place to compete against Carlsen in the World Chess Championship.

The Chennai-born chess Grandmaster lost to Carlsen last year after the Norwegian defeated Anand 6.5-3.5 by the end of Round 10 of the 12 scheduled games in Chennai.

Aged 22, the Nordic prodigy conquered his first World Chess Championship. As he prepares to defend his crown in Sochi, Carlsen is more than odds-on favorite to beat the veteran Anand.

The last time two opponents faced each other in consecutive years for the world title was way back in 1990 when Garry Kasparov met Anatoly Karpov.

The event will be held at the Olympic Media Center in Sochi. The draw is expected to held at the time of opening ceremony and bound to be reversed in Round 7.

Every game will be comprised of 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves. From then on, there will be an increase of 30 seconds per move.

One point is awarded for a win and none for a defeat. In case of a draw, both players will get half point each.

"I am in general happy with my chess performance this year. Actually in 2013, I had some good results but those were marred by a few bad losses. In 2014, I was more consistent in Khanty Mansiysk and Bilbao and played the chess I enjoy playing. So I would say I approach Sochi with positive feelings," Anand was quoted saying by NIIT.

Vishy as he is fondly called has played six World Chess Championship matches since 2007 but the Grandmaster is unperturbed.

"Really 6 in 7 years, I didn't realise it. Like I said, I really compete with myself. There have been times when you think you have had enough and always, after a few moments you realise - NO you always want more!

"Chess for me is something that I am fascinated with. I still realize that there are so many openings to learn from, to explore more. New variations to uncover, the ones that can blow the lid off, making months of work redundant. Still, when I start work on chess, I feel like a six year old with a chessboard, waiting at Tal club to play Blitz," he said.

Anand is also happy with Sochi as the venue.

"Sochi is great venue and Aruna was very impressed when she inspected it a few months back . They have held the F1 and hosted the winter Olympics. So I think it will be excellent. Russian chess audiences are always chess appreciative and even warm weather should be good."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too conveyed his best wishes to Anand ahead of his re-match through his official account on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of FIDE had in fact even invited Mr. Modi, for the opening ceremony and the "first move" of World Championship when the announcement of this re-match was made. Other invitees include Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and all World Champions.

2014 World Chess Championship schedule:

8 November: Game 1

9 November: Game 2

11 November: Game 3

12 November: Game 4

14 November: Game 5

15 November: Game 6

17 November: Game 7

18 November: Game 8

20 November: Game 9

21 November: Game 10

23 November: Game 11

25 November: Game 12

27 November: Tie-break games

With agency inputs