3:33 pm - Monday February 26, 2024

World Chess Championship: In-form Anand ready to take on defending champ Carlsen

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Anand has got the monkey off his back. But can he bring to the table a cerebral version of the guerrilla warfare to rattle Magnus Carlsen?

The next fortnight promises to come up with some answers as the Indian challenger takes on the reigning king from Norway in Sochi from Saturday over a 12-game World Chess Championship title re-match.

“In chess, the type of position influences how a player approaches the game,” Anand told German website Zeit Online. “Fatigue becomes relative.”

He was probably trying to suggest that he didn’t lose Games 5 and 6 of their their last match in Chennai due to exhaustion or big strategic mistakes, but simply because he didn’t play well enough in those games.

“I play according to the kind of position I want on the board,” Anand added. Elite chess players strive hard to get preferred positions on the board. It is fascinating because while deciding the ‘course of this balanced battle’ (excluding one-sided games), their rivals must also be in agreement to reach that position. So, there is that additional skill of luring your opponent into a trap.

Of late, Anand and other strong players have somewhat struggled to conclude what Carlsen’s un-preferred position on the board is. For, Carlsen’s comfort level against varied positions is huge and almost unprecedented in the history of chess. That makes it difficult and somewhat futile to prepare against him.

To play better in dry, squeezing endgames, Anand has put in sustained work on the fitness front. Anand is also trying to think more positively than the Chennai match last year. “Feelings determine how you think.Chennai is a closed chapter. I don’t sit and revisit it. Of course there were lessons learnt. I don’t really think about what chess experts say. I won Khanty and I will play Sochi. Only a win matters,” Anand said.

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