The opening ceremony of the 2008 World Chess Championship will take place on Monday 13th October in Bonn, Germany. At the ceremony Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik will draw lots to determine colours in the opening game.
Colours will then alternate through game 6, but in game 7 the order is changed before alternating again until the end of the match. This means that one player will have the white pieces in games 1,3,5,8,10 and 12 and the other will have white in games 2,4,6,7,9 and 11. I can't remember ever seeing this change of order during a match before and I'm not sure why they are bothering, since there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with simply alternating colours all the way through. Will it make any difference? Who knows...
If tie-breaks are needed there will be a separate draw for colours.
All games start at 3pm local time and Chess.com will be covering the games LIVE!
A regularly updated news item will have the latest moves, the current position and comments. Chess.com members are invited to add their own comments to the news item as the games unfold!
The start time corresponds to 2pm UK time and 9am Eastern USA time.
Experts are predicting a close match and fan polls are quite evenly divided. The Chess.com poll gives a narrow lead to Anand, but it's a close run thing at 54% to 46%.
It's a sign of the modern times that the match is only over 12 matches. Matches have traditionally been over a larger number of games (say 16, 18 or 24) but shorter matches are more media-friendly. There will be less time to recover from a loss. Will this make the players more cautious?
Before the match even starts, Kramnik has achieved a coup by having Peter Leko as one of his 'seconds' assisting him during the match. However, if the rumours are right, Magnus Carlsen has been helping Anand, but this is unconfirmed.
The gladiators shake hands before the event (picture from Chessvibes).
Vishy Anand is a natural attacking player, and in his youth earned the nickname The Lightning Kid for his fast play. He is arguably at his peak and will want to cement his position as undisputed world champion with a match win over his rival. This may be his last chance as a new generation of talented young players, headed by Magnus Carlsen, are closing in fast.
Vladimir Kramnik has a reputation as a stronger match player than Anand, with his victory in 2000 against Garry Kasparov for the WCC title being the highlight. He is a more strategic player, with excellent endgame technique and a strong defence.
It appears that there will be a half-hour delay on the broadcast of moves to external news agencies. Only Foidos, the official broadcasters for the event, are allowed to cover it exactly as it happens, and for everyone else it will be broadcast 'as-live' with a half hour delay. This transparent attempt to get more people to pay for the official coverage will probably not endear them to chess fans, but we will have to put up with it.
Look out for coverage of all the games at Chess.com, starting on Tuesday.
Let the games begin!