New Delhi: It would be a battle between Viswanathan Anand`s wealth of experience and Magnus Carlsen`s ability to play in any position when the two greats of the game face-off in the much-anticipated World Chess Championship beginning this month, feel a majority of Indian Grand Masters.
Anand`s strength lie in his experience of playing against top class opponents like Anatoly Karpov, Boris Gelfand, Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov and his rigorous pre-event preparation.
Carlsen, on the other hand, relies on his never-say-die attitude even in losing positions, putting his opponents under pressure, making them commit mistakes, and play different sidelines each time, explained the GMs.
"Anand is a great player. His understanding of game is very high and he has a much better tactical framework. It would be difficult for Carlsen to caught Vishy off-guard with so much experience behind him. The World Championship will see the best of Vishy coming out. My point is don`t give Carlsen initial leads and that will make him frustrating," World`s second-ever youngest GM Parimarjan Negi said.
"Magnus is young but Anand has more experience. Magnus has won more tournaments but Anand has more match experience. I think it will be one of the toughest matches for Anand.
"Magnus is in excellent shape and his biggest advantage is he can play in any kind of position. His fighting spirit, tactical endgame to break down his opponents, play different sidelines adds to his class," added Negi.
Given the statistics, Anand holds the advantage. The two have played 29 games so far in the Classical format with Anand winning six and Carlsen clinching three while the remaining 20 ending in draws.
The November 9 to 28 match can be best described by a famous line will be a 12-game tussle in Chennai.
Carlsen has broken all records, scaled one peak after the other like no one else and won almost everything except the World championship at a young age of just 22 years.
Another Grand Master Sriram Jha said Anand has won the last three titles, beating players like Vladimir Kramnik, Vaselin Topalov and Boris Gelfand, and surely knows how to stay on top.
"I am rooting for Anand. He will be my favourite because of his experience in match play. Anand is a five-time world champion and his record gives him an edge over Carlsen, who does not have a World Championship experience," said Jha.
"Anand is brilliant in openings; he uses the machines very well. On the other hand, Carlsen does not believe too much in the opening theory. His strength lies in endgames, unpredictability, and tiring out opposition," he added.
Many Indian GMs would not accept it but they know that the Norwegian holds a slight edge over Anand, given his stupendous form and ELO ratings of 2870, the highest ever in the history.
Former World Junior Champion Abhijeet Gupta said, "The match would be an intense one. Anand has the experience but Carlsen is enjoying a great success at the moment."
Carlsen qualified to challenge Anand for the World Championship crown after winning the FIDE Candidates` Tournament in London in April.
The match in Chennai gives Anand the home advantage that the Indian has never enjoyed before in a match of such magnitude but it could also act as a deterrent for him given the weight of expectation.
"Anand will be under pressure playing in Chennai. He should try not to feel like he is playing in his hometown. His all five championships (Tehran (2000), Mexico (2007), Bonn (2008), Sofia (2010) and Moscow (2012) took place outside the country. He is better of playing abroad. He should think like he is not playing in India but abroad," said Jha.
There is a huge gap between ratings (95) of the two players but most of the top players were hardly intimidated by the difference.
"It does not make much of a difference," said Negi. "In the end, it all boils down to the match day and how you perform on that particular day."
"Vishy was regarded as the fastest chess player on the planet, a well-adapted champion during his prime in 90s and early 2000, he needs to revisit those old days against Carlsen. We all know at 43, he is not getting any younger, but he has to read into his opponent`s mind.
"He needs to be much more fearless and aggressive; like he has been always. The role of the seconds would be very important," he added.
Carlsen had said in London after winning the Candidates` meet that "the difference is, I am winning tournaments and Anand is holding on to the title".
His confidence stemmed from the fact that he has been World Number one for 21 consecutive rating lists, he has won their last two encounters, most importantly the recent Taj Memorial, and the ratings difference.
"Last few years, Carlsen has been absolutely dominating, winning every tournament. He just crushes his opponent by building so much pressure on him.
"On the other hand, Anand has not been performing well in recent tournaments, not winning too many championships off late but his experience of five World Championship titles will give him the required confidence," said Negi.
"Anand should win it for India. He should win it for his millions of fans. The victory would lead him to the pinnacle of his career and cement his place among the legends," said Jha.
There are few things Carlsen would be wary of apart from Chess -- adjusting to the climate, unfamiliar local cuisine and the pressure of the occasion.