3 Reasons Why Viswanathan Anand Will Defend His Title

  • GM Parimarjan
  • on 11/6/13, 7:24 AM.

Editor's Note: This is the second of two special world championship preview pieces - take a look at yesterday's piece by GM Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway here. Published as "News" to keep our regularly featured article content on the homepage, here GM Parimarjan Negi tells us why he believes Vishy Anand will defend his title successfully.

Having opinions powered by the omniscient presence of chess engines, most fans are in a hurry to make up their minds regarding the World Championship. But these computer assessments often hide a bigger picture – especially the style of the players, which is crucial in a direct match!

The clinical, and at times monotonous, style of Magnus reminds me of another contemporary champion – Sebastian Vettel. The Formula One German driver continues to win race after race, sometimes even without overtaking a single car! Similarly, the Norwegian regularly steers the game away from complications that he cannot control. But in a "one on one" setting, will Vishy let him get away with this?


A young Parimarjan happily admits to have started playing chess because of Anand

1. It's not the same Anand you saw (and got bored of) in the last two matches!

While some may argue that the old Vishy, the one who was lightning sharp and buzzing with tactics, is lost in the past, this might just be a bit too premature to assume! It is true that in the last two matches the Madras Tiger assumed a much less aggressive stance, just being solid and sometimes boring – but it was exactly what he needed to win against Topalov and Gelfand! 

Now it's a new challenge, and it's obvious that in a long battle of stamina, and long drawish endgames, Magnus will emerge the World Champion. So Vishy has made painstaking efforts to get back to a highly confrontational, and double-edged style. Didn't notice? That's probably because as Vishy attempts to replicate his early years, his age has been showing, and occasional brilliancies have been overshadowed by disastrous blunders.

But all that has just been building up toward these two weeks in Chennai, and he has had enough time to iron out these creases from his game. Much fitter – he has been reported to have lost over 13 pounds - Vishy is ready to play a young man's game once again!

2. The Team

For years now, Vishy has been preparing for his World Championships in the little German town of Bad Soden – with a closely-knit group of seconds, advisors and friends. While a couple of his seconds are no longer in his team, it is still an extremely efficient and well-oiled success machine! The seconds clearly believe in him, and are willing to go the extra mile during the match to provide him with the best opening armory in the world. Never underestimate the role of having such a system in place! While the theoretical benefits are obvious, the psychological comfort is perhaps even more crucial.

Carlsen on the other hand has been known to prefer preparing by himself, and with extremely cunning preparation, he has managed to fox his opponents rather often. But a match preparation is very different from a tournament. Can he really adjust to, and completely trust, a bunch of grandmasters with whom he doesn't share such a rapport?

3. The Stakes

In such high-profile matchups, it is obvious that both sides are extremely motivated and ready to give their best. Yet, who can deliver that final extra push that might just change everything? For Vishy, losing the match will be like a death sentence to his career, and there isn't anything greater to inspire a champion like him! Magnus, on the other hand, is at the peak of his domination, and might not feel the same desperation to succeed.

Once voted as "most likely to fill Anand's shoes", the grown up Pari makes the case for his countryman to defend the title...

Stil not convinced? Don't forget about Caissa! The goddess of chess is known to keep tabs on every player – and with all those last moment tournament victories, and especially the finish in the London Candidates, Magnus has been raking in a debt. Perhaps it's time for her to set the balance straight again?

And don't forget the great odds you can get by betting for Vishy! Time to make some money?  

I hope you enjoyed my preview, and I hope that you are looking forward to this match with the same anticipation of all of India.

16364 reads 83 comments
16 votes


  • 3 years ago


    I don't have anything against Carlsen, but for some reason I really want to see Anand "shock the world" by defending his title in a series of brilliant games.  In my opinion, this is going to be the best series we've had in a few years.

  • 3 years ago


    Nice article and interesting opinions--very pleasurable to read.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand is an incredible player, and in most instances throughout history he would have had a long reign as champion. Still, he has also had the apparent misfortune to have played and lived in the time of Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen, who we can unequivocally state already as 2 of the Top 5 players of all time. Anand has to be in the Top 10, and is a true gentleman of chess. Magnus Carlsen will be the new World Champion, and the World of Chess will be better for it.

  • 3 years ago


    Anand - Aronian game was out of the world. 23. ... Be3 with the threat of Qxh3 +


    I'm out of this 'who's gonna win' debate. Firstly because I'm in no way qualified to comment as my level is far below them. And I feel the same for most of the comments of the chess fans being posted in this site since the past few weeks. Honestly, if you're below GM or atleast IM level, you have no knowledge in chess compared to these giants that you can comment on who is better than who. 


    Secondly, time will eventually tell. All we can do is make predictions. I prefer not making any predictions and rather waiting for the event to take place and see the result while enjoying it.


    I like both Magnus and Anand. Both are very strong players with different styles. It's certainly going to be an interesting WC. 


    And your article was great Pari. I enjoyed reading it.

  • 3 years ago


    Nice counter argument, GM Parimarjan.  I enjoyed the article and think the games you've given ARE great examples of Anand's brilliance.  

    I'll disagree regarding "the stakes".  Both players are going to be deadly serious about it.  

    I also disagree, somewhat, with the strategy that Anand should try to "mix it up" and get into a fight with his Norwegian nemesis.  Carlsen routinely destroys players with aggressive styles (see his plus scores against aggressive players like Shirov and Topalov).  On the other hand, it appears that Carlsen has some vulnerability to players who can be positional technicians on the board (like Leko, who has a plus score against him, and Kramnik...who is, well, Kramnik).  

    A couple of other points I thought would have been useful to this article are:

    1) Match experience.  Obviously Carlsen is no slouch, but Anand has decades of match experience playing against the most well prepared players in the world.  Tournament play does not quite equal match play.  And we can be sure that Anand has certain novelties up his sleeve specifically for this match. 

    2) Psychological advantage.  All of the pressure is on Carlsen.  Anand is playing on his home turf.  He's a legend with nothing to prove-- and most of the world already expects him to lose.  So he can go in relaxed, knowing that the burden of proof is on his young challenger.  "Hey, young lad...you're on my turf.  I've been champ for a long time.  If you want it, you've got to prove it in my house!"

    I'm very excited for this match.  I think it will be good for Chess publicity if Carlsen wins, but Anand is such a class act that it is hard to root against him.  And I'll be happy no matter who emerges victorious, as long as it is a competitive match. 

  • 3 years ago


    Good to hear that Anand is working to mix his game up a bit for his match against Carlsen.  Carlsen seems to enjoy that style of play, so will be interesting to see if Anand's vast 'experience' can tip the scales in his favor.

    With players of this calibre, it should be a very good match.

  • 3 years ago


    Nice to hear Anand is back to shape. 13 pounds !! Wow! I am travelling most of the time during the game. But I am also excited to view the game in Mobile phone live - http://goo.gl/igKMQe this time. 

  • 3 years ago


    Of course its an Indian writing and of course its bound to be biased but a good read nonetheless.  Thanks.  Both games were brilliant.

  • 3 years ago


    Another nice one-sided article! I love the tension building up!

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