Sochi, Russia: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand will look to avenge last year's championship defeat and clinch his sixth world title when he takes on Magnus Carlsen in the first game of the World Chess championship here on Saturday.
The Indian ace, who has silenced his critics with some remarkable performances this year, is still the underdog but his chances seems to have improved greatly as compared to last time.
The match, to be played over 12-games, will have the Classical time control with 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 and then fifteen minutes each with a 30 second increment from move 61 onwards.
In case of a tied result after 12-games, four rapid games will be played to determine the winner and if the scores are still tied, the match will be fought over in a series of blitz games till a clear winner emerges.
The winner will get 60 per cent from the total prize fund of 1 million Euros (Approx. Rs. 7.6 Crores).
For Anand it will be a new challenge under better conditions than the last time when the Indian was struggling before the match took place.
By winning the candidates tournament and earning the right to challenge Carlsen in a match again in March, Anand proved his detractors wrong and followed it up with another tournament victory at Bilbao Final Masters more recently.
Carlsen, on the other hand, will have his task cut out and he still starts as the favourite despite some mediocre performances recently. The Norwegian star won the world rapid and blitz earlier this year and is the first player ever to be world champion across all formats.
However, apart from winning these titles, Carlsen has finished second in two tournaments this year including the Sinquefield Cup where the world champion ended three points behind the eventual winner Fabiano Caruana.
Starting as the defending champion would certainly mean that Carlsen would be carrying a huge burden of expectations this time around.
While Carlsen refused to disclose his team in the last match a year before at Chennai, Anand has already indicated that there are some big changes in his team from last time.
Things seem to be favouring Anand, who has been preparing for the match since April. However, one cannot forget the way Carlsen decimated the Indian the last time in a one-sided match. It is advantage Carlsen still, but Anand should get his share of pride this time.