Only a month after our long interview with Garry Kasparov in Tallinn, Chess.com got to speak to the 13th World Champion again. At the end of his two-day visit to the Anand-Carlsen World Championship match in Chennai, he gave his opinion on the match, and he also commented on the turmoil related to what he describes as "the lack of official recognition of my arrival". The interview is the bigger part of our game 4 video:
What do you think of match so far?
Definitely both players try hard to make sure that... The two games while I was here, they were very exciting, a lot of fun. That's what we expect from a World Championship: fighting chess, ideas, determination to play till the very end. I am also truly impressed by the enthusiasm of the crowd here, by the interest for the match, both on the spot and around the world.
I think that this match proves again that classic chess is not dead, there's still a lot of excitement and the World Championship match itself represents unique value, that must be protected. Ten years of the knockout tournament that was the disastrous experiment was more than enough even for Ilyumzhinov's FIDE to recognize that a World Championship match is something that cannot be touched and experimented with.
“The World Championship match itself represents unique value, that must be protected.”
Not by accident we have few champions over 125 years of the history of the World Championship matches; there are fifteen. There is a chance that the new name will emerge and be added to this list after Chennai. Whatever is the outcome of the match, I think it secures the image of the match for the general public. I also believe that the match and the interest for the match, and the organization, it all shows that chess is on the rise and I am really happy to state it.
And as a chess player, what do you think of the chess so far? Two quick draws, then two fighting games and also maybe Black doing very well so far? What is your "chess opinion"?
I think it was to be expected, the first two draws were like in heavyweight boxing, you know, maneuvering, making sure that you can feel the opponent. I wouldn't be critical of both players because of that. Then we saw a lot of fight and missed opportunities. As a matter of fact Black missed chances in both games!
I wouldn't make it as a system, so that Black did well and White was eventually escaping. Probably there is a certain element of... It's not by accident. I think both players with white expect to achieve something and it's not easy now, because the opponent is well prepared. They probably push a little bit too far, and then Black has a chance. Still, it remains to be seen. I will be very surprised actually when the decisive games will be won by Black. I still think whoever plays white will still have an opportunity to demonstrate that the advantage of a serve in chess still counts.
“I will be very surprised actually when the decisive games will be won by Black.”
Four draws at the start, is that an advantage to Magnus, or to Vishy, or none?
Four draws are for draws. It means the score is equal, 2-2. I'm not sure that these speculations have any ground, that you hear after game 1, "Oh, victory for Anand!" or after game 2, "Victory for Magnus!" No, draw! It means that the game has ended with no result. There are certain psychological advantages but it is not a victory. It can disappear the next day.
I think that if the match goes on longer without a result, probably Vishy will be getting a bit more confident, and actually because Magnus might become more nervous. But we're still talking about minor things. It's a psychological background. At the end of the day, you have to win the match.
“If the match goes on longer without a result, probably Vishy will be getting a bit more confident, and actually because Magnus might become more nervous.”
If it goes to the tiebreak, 6-6, then again, both players are great rapid chess players, or blitz players. But even if you look at a potential outcome of 6-6, it could be 12 draws, highly unlikely, somebody wins, somebody loses or two wins, two losses, less likely but still possible. It depends on what happens, so again the psychological background is very important. I think that 6-6 is likely but it's still my view that eventually Magnus can score one extra game and winning plus one is likely for Magnus.
I wasn't really planning to go into the whole FIDE/federation thing, treated with respect or not... Is there anything you would like to say or would you rather skip this subject?
I don't think this subject is that important. It was a little bit odd for me to actually see such arrogance from certain officials who were involved in the organization. Actually they could recognize that it was wrong and the next day they have changed the attitude. Which was also probably the result of the massive complaints on the internet, and Twitter and Facebook, from the Indian players and the Indian public.
Again, I think it has worked out for the advantage of the game of chess because it showed that a lot of people are following the match, and also, what makes me feel very happy and even excited, that many Indian fans actually were disappointed by the lack of official recognition of my arrival despite the fact that they knew that I was rooting for Magnus, I was not hiding it. Still, the interest of chess prevailed in the minds and again, I think it's a very good sign. It shows that chess in India is on the rise not just because of Vishy Anand, who played a phenomenal role of course, as role model and as a local hero, but it's a genuine interest. Again, it's a very good sign for chess.
“The interest of chess prevailed in the minds and I think it's a very good sign.”