Bonn, Germany:Indian ace Viswanathan Anand will start his World Championship campaign with black pieces against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia as the two lock horns for a no-holds-barred battle spread over 12 rounds at the Art and Exhibition Hall here.
The city where Beethoven was born will hold the biggest match since 2000 when Kramnik had beaten Gary Kasparov in London during the Braingames World Championship contest.
Anand gets his chance to break the jinx associated with the 'K' factor. In his earlier World Championship campaigns the Indian ace had lost twice to Anatoly Karpov of Russian (in 1992 and 1998) and once each against Russian-turned-American Gata Kamsky (1994) and Kasparov (1995) in the famous duel that was held at the World Trade Centre.
Going by record books, Kramnik emerges as a better match player while Anand, by consent, is a much better tournament player.
Kramnik, who won the last such match against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in 2006 in Russia, had gone on record saying that he was lending the World Champion title to Anand when the Indian had won it last year at Mexico, emphasising that he would beat him in the match.
Although there was some animosity shown by Kramnik then, his recent comments on Anand have been quite respectful.
During the press conference, when he was asked what was the one thing that annoyed him in the last year or two, the Russian quipped, "I am really very annoyed by the good level of chess which my opponent has been showing. This was the only thing that was really, really annoying. The rest is completely all right."
Both the players agreed that it was pretty hard work preparing for the match.
"I am tired of working its time to play", said Kramnik while Anand too is eager to get going.
Going by the high percentage of drawn games between Anand and Kramnik so far, it's unlikely to be any different here. The first game between them may not give many clues but he who wins it is likely to have a clear edge going into the subsequent games.
The match consists of 12 games, played under classical time controls -- 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.
In the event of a tied 6-6 results, games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner.