Calcutta: Viswanathan Anand’s upcoming World Chess Championship game versus Norway’s Magnus Carlsen will basically test the edge of experience against the freshness of youth. But Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly is not ready to take sides.
Surya Sekhar has been Anand’s second for quite some time now and was in his team when the Indian saw off Boris Gelfand’s challenge last year in the World Championship encounter. This year, too, the city boy has been training with Anand, but he is not ready to confirm whether he will be there in the team.
“We had a training in Germany… It was intensive preparation. But it is not possible for me to reveal anything more about that at this point in time… Anand’s team hasn’t yet been decided and so I can’t confirm whether I will be in it or not,” Surya Sekhar said after inaugurating the Tata Steel Chess for Youth Championship, organised by the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy, in the city, on Friday.
Asked if the 43-year-old Anand is the favourite against the much less experienced Carlsen, who at 22 is almost half the Indian’s age, Surya Sekhar answered in the negative. He made it clear that the Norwegian is a special player and it will be a tough challenge for Anand.
“Carlsen is one of the most special players we have… Obviously, it will be one the toughest challenges for Anand. If you ask me, Anand has a 50:50 chance… I wouldn’t say one of them is a favourite.”
“Before a Grand Slam, can you predict who will win it? So just like you can’t predict for (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer, you cannot do it for Anand and Carlsen either. Both are great players and deserve to be in the position that they are,” Surya Sekhar said.
He explained that though Anand has the advantage of experience, Carlsen is the man in form and is also considerably ahead in the rating points. “It’s not just about experience… Of course Anand has all the years behind him, he has been one of the greatest. But Carlsen is no pushover… Remember, Carlsen is ahead of Anand by almost 100 rating points. Plus, because of his age, he will be more energetic of the two. So it will not at all be easy,” he said.
He pointed out that the outcome would also depend on how the players handle the crisis situations during the game .
“Carlsen is in great form… But Anand is also a veteran of many a battle. A lot would depend on how both them shapes up in the lead-up to the tournament. That in turn would help them while facing a crisis during the game. All the preparation that is going on now would come in handy then,” he said.
Speaking of ratings, it’s worth noting that Carlsen is the current world No.1 while Anand is at the seventh spot. So is Anand and his team undergoing any special training keeping that fact in mind?
“Not really… See, every Championship game is special and you have to prepare keeping a particular individual in mind. Every opponent is different and their strengths and weaknesses are unique. So that way, every training, for whichever player it might be, is special,” he said.
The Anand-Carlsen clash is scheduled to be held in Chennai from November 6-26 this year.
Apart from Surya Sekhar, city GM Sandipan Chanda was also in Anand’s team last year.
On the personal front, Surya Sekhar revealed that he would be participating in a tournament to be held in Indonesia next week. “It’s a pretty big tournament and I’m looking forward to doing well.”
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