Challenger Viswanathan Anand will play with white pieces in the first match of the World Chess Championship that gets under way in Sochi, Russia on Saturday evening (5:30 PM IST). Norway's young super Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen is the defending champion. (Viswanathan Anand to Play With White in the World Championships Opener)
Motivation, experience and form are the three formidable weapons that Viswanathan Anand will be brandishing at Sochi against Carlsen at the gruelling three-week event. The Olympic village at Sochi is the venue and is all spruced up with a spectacular designer look, unveiled for the first time in a world chess match. (Time for Revenge as Anand Eyes 16th Title)
A relaxed confident Anand has inspected the Playing Hall, tried out his Chair, got a feel of the pieces and was rearing to get into action. Both Carlsen and Anand appeared in the 2013 World Championship match, that time with Anand as the reigning world champion and Carlsen as the challenger with the latter winning 6.5-3.5. This will mark the first time that the same two opponents have met in consecutive World Championship matches since Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1990).
The championship is to be played over a maximum of 12 games and the winner of the crown shall be the first player to score 6.5 points or more. If the scores are level after 12 games, four tie-break games will be played under shorter time controls. (No Major Changes in team Anand Ahead of World Chess Championship Class)
The time control for the first 12 games will be: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting after move 61 has been made.
Twenty-three-year-old Carlsen, with a 2863 rating, is defending his title for the first time while 44-year-old Anand, with a rating of 2791, is a five-time world champion and is considered one of the most versatile chess players in the world. (Anand Wary of "Tenacious" Carlsen)
Anand is the only world champion who has won titles playing in all different formats (match, tournament and knockout). After losing to Carlsen last year, Anand was in sparkling form in the two events that mattered most in 2014, winning the Candidates to qualify and then stamping his superiority in the Category 21 Bilbao Masters by winning with a round to spare.
Interestingly Anand's long time contemporary and arch rival 45-year-old Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine on a popular chess website predicted a tie "6-6 and Anand will win in the tiebreak" even though he felt that Carlsen was stronger at the moment.
Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, whom Anand dethroned in 2008 at Bonn, said: "The match is going to be exciting. Anand will probably prepare well and will have less pressure. I expect lots of tension.'
Abhijit Kunte was a bit cautious in his assessment and said: "The start is very crucial and if Anand can get off to a good one, then there is no looking back."
Interestingly Anand has been very active on social networking media and has been tweeting regularly. (Prime Minister Modi Wishes Anand Luck Ahead of World Chess Championship)
Format: The match is to be played over a maximum of 12 games and the player who scores 6.5 or more will win the title. If the score is level, 4 tie-break games will be played under shorter time controls.
Venue: The World Championship Match will be held in Sochi, Russia from 7 Nov to 28 Nov 2014.
Time Control: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting after move 61.
Prize Fund: The prize fund of this match is 1 million Euros. The prize money will be divided 60 per cent to the winner and 40 per cent to the loser, if the match ends within 12 games. In case the winner is decided by tie-break games, the winner shall receive 55 per cent and the loser 45 per cent.