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Anand "Packing More Punch" in 2013?

[Blog History]

   Let’s be honest about this. Anand hasn’t really done anything spectacular since 2010 with his victory over Topalov, then Gelfand in 2012. Other than that, Anand was pretty much non-existent in competitive play last year. Yes, he’s now a new father, so his focus naturally shifted from chess and more to his family, but his “Heavy Weight” Chess title is at stake with the 2013 World Championship looming later this year. Magnus will most likely clobber his comrades in the upcoming Candidates Tournament, so sitting back is not an option for Anand unless, that is, he wants to lose his World Championship “belt.”

  

   In December 2012, an article was published on Chessbase about Anand’s full comeback to steady chess play in 2013. Between December (the article’s publication) and July, he has 7 tournaments (6 now that TATA is over); that’s approximately one tournament per month. Though he shouldn’t burn himself out before October-November (the time of the Championship match), he needs to stay mentally vigilante over his chess play till then, considering it’s possibly his biggest test ever.

  

   I’ve previously criticized Anand about this and have heard him called “Drawanand” (and other variations of that name) in certain circles on Chess.com. He drew every game but two to Gelfand in the 12-game 2012 title match, then beat him in the rapid playoff. He drew a lot of his games in the TATA tourney as well. I personally don’t think he’ll be able to do that if Magnus, or even Aronian, advances to compete in this year’s World Championship. Of course, there are other threats with the likes of players such as Kramnik, Svidler, Grischuk and Gelfand, but Magnus sure to be in it this year changes things dramatically. (Magnus wasn’t in the last Candidates tourney because of his tournament boycott.)

  

   Though Anand said he’ll be comfortable returning to a more active schedule, which includes a World Title match, my opinion is he should’ve gotten more active much sooner. Now, I know I’m not an expert on all things chess-related, and have never claimed to be, so perhaps I’m not giving him enough credit. Anand is currently ranked 6th in the world on the FIDE list, and placed 3rd in the recent TATA Super Tourney, behind Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian. All I know is Carlsen has his eyes on the Championship and Vishy is going to have to do whatever it takes to keep it.

  

   But what happens if he ultimately loses his title? Will he remain competitive and try to reclaim the seat on his 6-year Championship throne, or will he retire, opting to spend time with his family, watching his child grow up? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, contemplating possible forks in the road is fun to do.

  

   Until next time everyone—thanks for reading. Any comments or opinions are welcome—just please keep them friendly.

  

   -Mark

Comments


  • 16 months ago

    GmPrice

    I'll be shocked if Anand retains his title facing: Carlsen or Aronian. Kramnik is one of my favorite chess players, probably #2 behind Karpov, and I Know he has immense potential. Somebody on here said he's been training for this very hard, so maybe he'll be up to it since he still has a lot of strength in his game. Anybody else, I could see Anand Winning. Carlsen and Aronian are too fast to be beat in Rapids, and honestly, Aronian is Anand's nemesis as black, and Carlsen is so universal, he will probably just grind to wins through the entire thing.

  • 17 months ago

    yugandhar_mankar

    Anand is the best rapid chess player.If this year also tie breaker takes place then Anand is going to win no matters who is his opponent

  • 18 months ago

    XavierPadilla

    Great blog post and comments, especially by ThePoet1800 and aronchuck!

  • 18 months ago

    Ironknight777

    Its time for a new era, "Magnus" all the way. The true Mozart of Chess. 

  • 18 months ago

    giru-sp

    feel carlsen is scared of anand since he is the only player he accepts draws with it would be fun if he becomes the candidate

  • 18 months ago

    Sahasrara

    The Candidates are going to be amazing, I can feel it. Aronian, Carlsen or Kramnik who will it be???

  • 18 months ago

    az09

    If there's a thing I can say then it's this: Do not underestimate Anand, unless you want to lose too quickly.

    He's been fighting for this title for more than 15 years (both as a challenger and as the champion), he will not lose it just because Carlsen is 100 rating points higher than him, or because he is playing like a machine. He knows how to hold on when he's under pressure and if Carlsen tries to force an early win on him he'll probably find himself in serious trouble. How he'll do in the rapid tiebreaks, however, is a problem, if not THE problem, for him.

  • 18 months ago

    HeadlessBishop

    All these assumptions that Carlsen will ease through the Candidates matches are getting old. I hope Kramnik wins to challenge for the title. 

  • 18 months ago

    enzoboxer

    Once again ThePoet1800 makes a lot of sense.  Let's just wait and see what Anand has up his sleeve when the match comes around. I was, like many of you, watching the Anand/ Aronian match when Anand gave a glimpse of  (perhaps) his homework for the forthcoming battle.  Time will tell...and I guess we can continue debating the debate!

  • 18 months ago

    aronchuck

    At the London Chess Classic Kramnik revealed that he had been preparing for the candidates for 18 months now.  Also in post mortem analysis he consistently realed off one accurate long variation after another refuting the conclusions and assessments made in the commentary room.  Vlad is extremely impressive!  Aronian is also awesome and of course Carlsen seems to be inhuman and makes every game a fight and real tough test for his opponents.  Sometimes they draw with him but mostly not...  I think one of those 3 will win the Candidates but the whole pool is filled with some amazing talent and it is entirely possible that any one of them could go on a short winning streak that puts them firmly in the lead and uncatchable.  Whoever wins I think will win the title but Anand won't go down without a fight as he is still capable of some great chess but ultimately I think he will lose the crown.  Hopefully he will continue to play and give us some more great games before he retires.  Whatever happens it is going to be mouth watering and an amazing year for chess!

  • 18 months ago

    Rasparovov

    What's really the difference between match games and tournament games? 
    It's a miniscule difference in perhaps preparation aswell as perhaps stamina.

    First of all Carlsen is in alot better shape than Anand and will probably prove better in stamina aswell as confidence.

    Anand might be better prepared but the question is how much this will really help, Carlsen almost every game gets a playable position and grinds an endgame for hours, turning it into a win.
    If Carlsen is the challenger I will be in no doubt who will win, all respect to Anand he gave the chess world some really great games but his reign as champion is running out. 

  • 18 months ago

    mobidi

    The game Aronian -Anand was very impressive and ,of course,Anand is The Champion-he can to play match with Carlsen -they have about equal chances-maybe Anand is better (he played many matches).

  • 18 months ago

    melvinbluestone

    The author respectfully mentioned "other" threats, besides Carlsen, and included Gelfand in his list. ....... Ouch! Imagine another match with Gelfand?!  I mean Boris may be a nice guy and a great player, but please not another snooze-fest like that!

  • 18 months ago

    ThePoet1800

    Match play is very different from tournament play. We've yet to see what Magnus can do under those conditions. I think it's always a mistake to start crowning champions who have never even been to the playoffs. I agree that Magnus looks amazing on paper, but I've also noticed that Anand always does what it takes to win matches. And he has a lot of experience in them. He doesn't have anything to prove in tournaments or with his rating. There's no incentive for Anand to reveal all his prep trying to get wins at Tata. What would that do for him? But every now and then he does still show us a little glimpse of what he's capable of. Not only did he destroy Aronian in a miniature, but he did it with black. And he burned a theoretical novelty (displaying it in public) in the process. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have more tricks up his sleeve. On the contrary, it means that as world champ he's the only player who actually has a reason to keep his cards close to the vest. So let's not be so quick to dismiss and dethrone him until someone comes along and actually proves that they can beat him when it counts.

  • 18 months ago

    sixtyfoursquares

    The pressure of World Championship Match will be MORE on Carlsen than on Anand.  As Anand is the World Champion and he knows he has to vacate the throne one day or the other!

    He has been a KING and IS THE KING as of today!!

    Carlsen has to prove it YET!!  Good Luck!!

  • 18 months ago

    benno1926

    Anand has been an all class chess player, who still has the ability to compete with the younger players on the circuit. To me his main goal is not the regular tournaments but the World Championship and he will put plenty of preparation and effort into defending his crown and hopefully there are plenty of good games ahead for 2013.

     

    Best of luck VISHY

  • 18 months ago

    cheat3

    You are all well off the mark, Chucky is going to be the next world champion!!! Go go Chucky!

  • 18 months ago

    P_G_M

    First Carlsen needs to win the Candidates and then he will have a very difficult time trying to win the extra short 12 classical games WCC, my best guess is that  the WCC will be defined on rapid games or maybe even blitz games.

  • 18 months ago

    AlchemicRejuvenation

    Anand finished Wijk aan Zee with a 2810 performance.  That is not consistent, nor his rating in general, with an excessive amount of draws.  Anand stated in an interview that his match with Gelfand was the hardest match he's ever had, above Kramnik and Topalov.  I am not skilled enough at chess to critique this view and so I accept it.

  • 18 months ago

    NimzoRoy

    Anand is so yesterday...Botvinnik used to describe himself as "first among equals" when he was WCH but IMHO Anand isn't even that good anymore. What's up with a WCH who isn't ranked #1 or at least tied for the #1 rating slot? 

    So long Vishy hello Magnus...

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