Anand must play his best chess this time: Gelfand
Susan Ninan, TNN | Nov 6, 2013, 05.17 AM IST
CHENNAI: Viswanathan Anand’s World Championship match against Boris Gelfand in Moscow last year is an intriguing study for chess students. It was a victory fraught with challenges and Anand finally won it in the tie-breaker.
In an exclusive interview, current world No. 7 Gelfand opened up about his match against Anand, factors that would hold the key in this World Championship and why the gulf in the ratings of the two players won’t make a difference. Excerpts:
Last year’s match is often referred to as Anand’s toughest World Championship win so far. Do you agree?
It was the only title match for Anand which was drawn and he won in the tiebreaker. That says it all.
How do you see this title match going?
I think both players will find the other tough to deal with. Eventually, the one who plays better and manages stress better will win.
What do you think will be the factors that will play a key role in this match?
It’s all about good preparation, strong nerves, endurance and a high level of play.
It seemed you were able to work your way through Anand’s strategy last year. What helped you catch him completely off-guard? Do you still regret the misadventure in Game 8 which you lost in 17 moves and brought Anand back into the game?
I would say my years of experience. During my long career, I have been studying different players and varied styles of play. It helped me understand Anand well and build my match strategy. Of course, the eighth game of the match was a very painful miss as I didn’t play well.
The secrecy around the seconds is said to have been heightened after last year’s match. It was later known that additional seconds, whose identity was a wellguarded secret, had been at your aid. Also, who do you think are the players helping Anand and Carlsen this time?
I’m not in the know as to who is helping them, but I’m sure that the players know or at least suspect who is on their opponent’s team.
How important a factor will age be in this match? Do you think a rating difference of 100 points between the players will have a bearing?
I hope that Anand will play like a young tiger and age wouldn’t play a role. The importance of rating is strongly overrated. It is just the numbers.
How has Anand evolved as a player over the years and why do you think he is still not mentioned in the same breath as Kasparov despite his achievements?
Anand is a modest and dignified person. He is not obsessed about being on the cover of popular magazines or being hounded by the media. He, like Kramnik, doesn’t want the world to talk only about him. Anand started his career as a bright tactical player who could win a game in 20 minutes. During the years he matured as an all-round player who could excel in everything on the chess board.
Carlsen is called the Mozart of chess because of the beauty he brings to the game….
Journalists like using beautiful words. Carlsen definitely plays fantastic chess. But with due respect to Magnus, there were brilliant players in the past, there are in the present and there will be many more in future.
Since you have played Carlsen as well, what are your thoughts on him? How unpredictable can he prove to be in his maiden title match?
Carlsen is a fantastic young player who has scaled great peaks in a short span of time. But still he doesn’t have any match experience, so I cannot predict his play.
What do you think Anand will have to do differently this time?
He must find a key to his style and play his best chess.