Carlsen-Anand: Prediction Time!

Carlsen-Anand: Prediction Time!

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Nov 6, 2014, 12:41 AM |
87 | Chess Event Coverage

This Saturday the World Championship Match starts in Sochi. Most chess fans think that Magnus Carlsen will keep his title, but what about the experts? 

In our first preview we listed the match schedule and basics, and then we gave you the historical numbers for all games ever played between Anand and Carlsen. Now it's time to make some predictions!

Below you'll find predictions from top GMs, Chess.com editors and other experts. But first a message from our main sponsor. Wink

Chess.com Coverage of the World Championship

Chess.com will provide daily “recap” shows after each round! This is the ONLY place (that we know of) offering in-depth, SportsCenter-style breakdowns of what happened in the games. 

Not able to watch the games live? Don't worry, you won't miss anything with Chess.com's highlights showsStay tuned to the Chess.com/TV calendar page for updates as we assign many of our great broadcasters to daily shows. 

Chess.com will also host highlights shows on the rest days from Sochi! 

IM Danny Rensch will be hosting the first highlights show with top GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on Monday, Nov. 10!

Further shows will feature none other than top GM Hikaru Nakamura on Nov. 13 and 16. 

Look for more updates on the Chess.com/TV calendar or follow @chesscomtv on Twitter!

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (24), top GM, France: “Carlsen will win by 6.5-4.5. He's the best player in the world, and I expect him to come better prepared both psychologically and on openings. I also expect Anand to learn from his mistakes in the first match where I think he didn't make use of most of his chances, but I think he might also not get as many chances as he did last year.”

Levon Aronian (32), top GM, Armenia (to Ria Novosti): “Carlsen is clearly the favorite in the upcoming match, because Anand has always had psychological difficulties to play with him. Hopefully the match will be an exciting fight, but I am afraid that if at the beginning of the match Carlsen wins one game, the fight will be uninteresting. It is difficult to anticipate something, but maybe after that Anand could break. But it's not likely that it will be a similar, dry fight like in Chennai. Anand has played better this year and if he has prepared better than last year, he will have a chance to win.”

Ian Nepomniachtchi, top GM, Russia (to Ria Novosti): “Carlsen is the favorite, but I believe that Anand will show more complete and powerful play than in Chennai. Now there will be less pressure because he does not have to defend his title as a year ago. The match will be very interesting.”

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (29), top GM, Azerbaijan: “Carlsen will win, but it won't be an easy match. But he will win +3. He is the best player now.”

Hikaru Nakamura (26), top GM, USA (during a press conference in Tashkent): “I don't see any reason why Magnus isn't gonna win again. I think Vishy showed extremely good nerves when he won the Candidates’ Tournament in Khanty, but I don't think anything has fundamentally changed from when they last played.”

Alexander Grischuk (31), top GM, Russia (to r-rport:) “The favorite of the match should be called Carlsen, but I very much hope that the match will be much more interesting than last year, and it will be an intense struggle. The world championship match is a special event, and whoever says it's not talks nonsense. Yes, it is Anand again, but yes, it will be interesting again because surely everything will be different. Anand has many strengths, he will be well prepared and always plays very well in active positions — when there's something to sacrifice to get the initiative — and an attack on the king. If he gets [this kind of positions] he can be optimistic about the match with Carlsen.

"But Carlsen has not become weaker; this summer he became world champion at rapid chess and blitz. This is an incredible achievement, for decades to come it will be impossible to repeat this. In the match much will depend on Anand — I don't think he is inferior to Carlsen when he plays at his best. But Magnus is more stable, he plays more games close to his very best. But if Anand will manage to play the match at his best, then the outcome is unpredictable.”

Wesley So (21), top GM, recently switched federations to USA: “Carlsen is 70 points higher in terms of rating. He is clearly the favorite here in terms of chess strength. The match will not last 12 rounds, that is my feeling. +2 for Carlsen after 11 games is very doable. He is unstoppable when he is motivated for the event. It's also hard to beat him when he is serious for a game. He has more energy and stamina than Anand. This is big advantage in a match lasting 12 rounds of approximately five hours per game. Carlsen is also very good in dodging his opponent's preparation. He can play anything, has a wide opening repertoire, it's one of his strengths. I expect to see more sidelines and less theory, like last year. I don't know how Anand can break Magnus' pet openings Berlin, and Breyer after 1.e4 e5, so he might have to opt for 1.d4, or the English. Meanwhile when Carlsen is White he can play anything. I expect Anand to be well prepared and probably more inspired than last year. This match will also see less 1.e4.”

Vassily Ivanchuk (45), top GM, Ukraine: “6-6 and Anand will win in tie-break. Why? Objectively, Carlsen is stronger at the moment in my opinion, but there are two very important things: 1) Carlsen does not want to play against Anand now. Anand has more experience in such situations. (To play more than one match against the same opponent.) We can remember his matches against Kramnik, Kamsky, Kasparov, Karpov etc.  2) Carlsen did not want to play in Russia now. And because of these two things I expect to see an equal match in Sochi. Why Anand will win after 6-6? I can just suppose that he will be slightly more happy with a tie than Carlsen, which will give him a slightly better mood before the rapid than Magnus...

Judit Polgar (38), top GM, number one female player in the world for 25 years, Hungary: “Carlsen will win but it will be very tight. I think Anand is a fantastic champion himself and the fact that he is the challenger — ‘the underdog’ — and this time not the world champ who should defend the title it gives him a great challenge to play play well and show that the old fox can still play well!”

Alexander Khalifman (48), former FIDE world champion, Russia: “Carlsen will win by something like +3 =7 -1. I have only huge respect and admiration for Vishy but 45 doesn't seem to be the perfect age to fight for the title.”

Gregory Serper(45), GM and weekly columnist for Chess.com: “Carlsen will win, by +2. The age difference is the factor, so each 10 years of difference should be good for extra 1.0 point. As a chessplayer of Anand's age I'll be very happy if the Indian genius proves me wrong.”

Daniel Naroditsky (18), GM and weekly columnist for Chess.com: “Carlsen will win by 6.5-4.5. Vishy has had a long and illustrious chess career, and his match play credentials are unimpeachable. With full due respect, though, I believe that Magnus is simply the stronger player, and he certainly has all of the momentum on his side after crushing Anand in last year's WC match. Provided that Magnus will fix his recurring opening difficulties and consistently reach playable positions, I think that he will have little trouble defending his title.

Jeremy Silman (60), IM and weekly columnist for Chess.com: “Carlsen easily won the first match, so one would be well within their rights to think that the same thing will happen again. However, Anand wasn’t at his best in that match -– people aren’t robots, and any number of things can turn a chess contest upside down (emotional state, desire, form, politics, etc.). 

"Anand found some of his old magic after the match, and he’ll be on top of his game for the new one. On the other hand, Magnus has been in a bit of a slump lately. To make matters worse, he was strong-armed by Ilyumzhinov into accepting Sochi as the match venue –- but everything should turn out well since if you can’t trust an ex-dictator and Vladimir Putin, who can you trust?

"If both players are at their best, Magnus will win (most likely by two points). But if Magnus is still off form, or if the playing site is a bust, or if Magnus lets FIDE machinations get under his skin, then it’s anyone’s match.

"Why will Magnus win? Barring extenuating circumstances, a young world champion in his prime will always beat a much older world champion. It’s that simple.”

Garry Kasparov (51), former world champion: "Carlsen is stronger than Anand and should win the match – and I hope he does. Magnus is an active and ambitious young champion who will do many good things for the chess world I still care about deeply. It is only that it is a rematch that gives rise to any doubts at all. The human mind is not a computer and our powers of calculation cannot be isolated from our emotions. That is why chess is a sport and not a science, and why I am excited to watch this rematch of generations."

Bryan Smith (34), GM and weekly columnist for Chess.com: “I think it will be a much tougher match this time. The champion has always had a psychological disadvantage because they have something to lose (the title). Additionally, I don't think Carlsen has as much fire as he had before. My prediction is that the match will be tied and decided in tiebreaks, where Carlsen will narrowly win."

Robert Ris (26), IM and editor of The Master's Bulletin, Netherlands: “It will definitely be a closer match than the previous WC and I estimate the chances around 50-50, despite the huge Elo difference in Magnus' favor. In case Vishy manages to grab an early lead I'm not sure Carlsen will be able to display his best chess, but I don't see that happen[ing]. Hence, in my opinion Carlsen is still the favorite and will neutralize his +1 with two solid draws in the final rounds: 6.5-5.5.

Arthur van de Oudeweetering (48), IM and editor of The Master's Bulletin, Netherlands: “Anand’s focus (once also a popular term in Dutch soccer) will balance the blow dealt by Carlsen last year: 6-6 this time. The tiebreak –- well, let’s say here Carlsen will confirm his title in this discipline. Sound[s] plausible, doesn’t it?

Yasser Seirawan (54), former top GM, commentator, author: “I’m going to be boring and predict that Magnus will successfully defend his title 7-5. I thought that the first match was going to be much closer as Magnus vied for the WC title for the first time. After overcoming some jitters at the start Magnus was very impressive thereafter. Vishy is a great fighter, he came storming back to be the deserved challenger and I do think he will make a much better effort this time. Vishy has been in great form lately so his confidence should be riding high. The match is short, the player in the lead at the halfway point will likely win. If the match goes to overtime, I’ll switch predictions and go with the old fox in the rapids.”

Lubosh Kavalek (71), former top GM, Huffington Post columnist: “Carlsen will win by +2. It is hard to fight the nature even in a short 12-game match.”

Leontxo García (58), renowned chess journalist, Spain: “Carlsen will win with 6.5-4.5. He's 21 years younger.”


So what do the players think themselves? Well, they haven't expressed clear predictions themselves obviously, but here are a few recent quotes:

Anand:

“Chennai is a closed chapter. Lesson learnt and book closed. Sochi is a new match... a new challenge,” Anand told Firstpost. “It doesn't matter if you are challenger or a champion. It's either him or me in Sochi. So I'm happy to take my chances.

"I was happy to do well in Khanty and fairly satisfied with my chess. So I can say I feel positive. 

I"n a match, you appear in a different avatar. What you did before isn't on trial... only the 12 games you play. So I'm not really giving too much importance to his play.”

Carlsen

“My self-confidence is better now, Carlsen said to NRK. “I have won a number of blitz games against Jon Ludvig and Peter Heine, so that's good.

"I count myself as the favorite if I play well, but it's pointless to play the way I've done the last few tournaments. This makes it more difficult.”

Of course Carlsen did more than just reading Donald Duck. To get a glimpse of what his life looked like during the year that he's been a world champion, here's a a nice video portrait done by NRK:

xxx

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