Viswanathan Anand to Play With White in the World Championships Opener

Top-ranked Magnus Carlsen of Norway says that his rematch for the world title with five-time champion Viswanathan Anand will be nothing like last year, when Carlsen started with white pieces and won easily in Chennai.

Updated: November 08, 2014 15:01 IST
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Vishwanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen during a match
File Photo: Vishwanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen during a match. Anand was playing with black pieces in this particular game.


Sochi, Russia: Indian chess wizard Viswanathan Anand will open his campaign with white pieces against defending champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the first game of the World Championship that gets underway here. (Also read: Anand aims for blazing start with white pieces)

Given the first choice, Carlsen drew out a black coloured balloon out of a magician's box especially prepared for the occasion while Anand got the second remaining white one. (Also read: Time for revenge as Anand eyes 6th title)

The balloon was then punctured by the magician and there appeared black and white coloured birds in the middle of a colourful opening ceremony.

Contrary to the last time, when Anand opened with the black pieces and even though held a playable position, agreed for a quick draw barely 90 minutes into the game.

Carlsen, on the other hand, remains the favourite but indicated that he too learnt a lot from the last match. (No Major Surprises in Team Viswanathan Anand Ahead of World Chess Championship Clash)

"Seriously, it doesn't really matter for the players. You can only do your best and as soon as the match starts it doesn't matter whoever was the favourite," Carlsen said.

"If you play badly you're not going to win. Last time I didn't play very successfully at the start and I could have been severely punished for that in a couple of games. Obviously it's important for me to get off to a better start," he added.

The start will in fact be crucial for Anand too as the rule remains -- hit first and hit hard. It's just 12 games and the race will be over when one of the contestants reaches 6.5 points.

It's a hugely deflated prize fund -- one million Euros -- which is set as the minimum for such matches. When the match was announced, the current FIDE regime was facing a tough election against Garry Kasparov and they could not secure a better sponsorship.

Carlsen, in fact, was reluctant to sign the contract for the match and it was only after an extended deadline that the world champion gave his consent.

Now that the ceremonies are done with and the initial secrets about the 'seconds' revealed, both players are ready for what promises to be an exciting contest.

Even Carlsen agreed that this won't be like the last time: "Drew black in the first game. This match is indeed nothing like the first," tweeted the Norwegian after the opening ceremony.

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