Reports | July 04, 2013 10:26

Anand-Carlsen countdown: 125 days to go

The countdown has started: in 125 days from today the World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen begins. Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 is the date of the opening ceremony in Chennai, India where the first game is scheduled for Thursday, November 7th. In this first preview article we quote an interview with both players from Indian and Norwegian media.

At elementary school, Magnus Carlsen (22) was called a chess nerd and beaten up. Today, no one is laughing.

This is how an interview (link here but behind a paywall) with Carlsen by Norwegian newspaper and co-sponsor VG starts, published July 1st and written by Fredrik Saltbones. The interviewer spoke with Carlsen in Lillehammer, right after the rapid match with Borki Predojevic. The world's number one admits that he played a role in "getting beaten" at school:

...but, then, much of it was my fault too. I deserved it. I acted not always so good and I was rude.

Instead of going into this subject a bit further, Saltbones continues with one of those questions Carlsen has had to answer too often: whether chess players are "really smart". Asked if he ever took an IQ test, Carlsen answers:

No, I think it's okay to leave it a mystery.

For the ChessVibes readers the comments by Carlsen's manager Espen Agdestein are probably more interesting. He says that his protégé is resting until the second half of July.  

Then [he] will have a training camp for a few weeks before heading to India for inspection in August. We do this to get the feel of the city, the venue and facilities, but also to have all the impressions now, instead of later when it might impede his focus on the match.

The interview also mentions that Carlsen will arrive in Chennai one week before the match starts, and that his team will include a private chef and a doctor.

An interview with Vishy Anand by The Indian Express was published earlier this week as well. This excellent piece is about Anand's busy year so far, his crushing loss against Carlsen in what was their last classical game before the final, the Norwegian's apparent weakness in the opening phase and the inspiration he draws from Boris Gelfand. We give a few brief quotes but we recommend reading it in full.

About his tough schedule of six tournaments in six months, Anand said:

I had 22 decisive games — 14 wins, 8 losses. That is already a big improvement over last year when I found it difficult to have decisive games at all. In that sense this year was very successful.

About his quick loss against Carlsen at the Tal Memorial:

That was one of the worst. Not only did I lose, I lost embarrassingly. (...) Something clearly just went wrong and I have some idea what it is. I will work at fixing that problem, but it is one among many problems that have cropped up. (...) I'm happy I got it over with in June rather than it happening in November.

About Gelfand's success at the Tal Memorial:

I was very, very happy. I find that when it is not for myself, I root for Vlady (Kramnik) or Boris, the players of my generation. It has become a natural reaction. At Alekhine, I was impressed by his play but was not sure if it was a one-off good tournament, but now he has shown it's something deeper. It's a very impressive result and I tip my hat to him. I will definitely think about what went right with him and incorporate that in some way.

And about Carlsen's alleged weakness in openings:

For me, it is a bit naive to call it a weakness. It definitely is a peculiar style which I hope to find the right weapon against. I would rather say (in terms of a boxing analogy) he is someone who has a very fast right rather than a left, it's just a facet of his style.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Greco's picture


AAR's picture

WC Anand is very humble and frank in his self assessment.

Chess Fan's picture

Yes, that is one of the things I like about him. He is genuinely humble, honest, and nice, and he has always been that way. People like him and Boris Gelfand are refreshing pleasant to everyone. Always were.

Sergio Henrique Riedel's picture

I totally agree!

Stephen's picture

Viswanathan "The Nerd Basher" Anand

Greco's picture

Stephen King right?

Riyaz's picture

Anand can enjoy the WC privileges for another 125 days, after that no sane man is going to invite him for any tournament. Anand was a great player, today he is a pushover.

Anonymous's picture

Anand is and always will be the champ. I can't wait to come back here this fall to hear all the bashers cry and pull their eyes out.

Chess Fan's picture

Riyaz, I am sure that it was very harsh. If Vishy wins in November, are you going to come and apologize here? I understand Magnus has a better chance of winning on paper as on now. He could even win easily based on Vishy's psychological state in November.

RG13's picture

Karpov is still invited to tournaments and people are happy to see him play. Similarly Korchnoi was invited to tournaments even though his rating had declined dramatically from it's high. Also Anand is still one of the Top Rapid and Blitz players in the world.

RS's picture

"No sane man will invite him for a tournament" -

Yeah right.

Anonymous's picture

125 was the gap between Fischer and Spassky before their match. Symbolism?

Anonymous's picture

Yes, definitely. A few days it was even more symbolic: twice the number of squares on the chess board!

Chess Fan's picture

Absolutely brilliant comment. Very humorous too.

Fishy's picture

Gelfand-Carlsen would be more up to level it seems at this point. Let's hope Vishy can regain some form before November.

Roberto's picture

I think and i hope that Anand will be more prepared.

The fight for world champion will not be easy, it will have a lot of psicological problems to handle.

And in that aspect i don't think Carlsen will be better. Looking back in candidates tournament we saw some bad games of him because of this tension, to get the world championship. How will Anand behavior is a good point, but the psicological moment is favorable to him, imo.

But Carlsen is getting clearly better at chess play. Let's see what will happens!

SFK's picture


pravardhan's picture

World Championship match is supposed to be held every two years right?? Then why is the next wch match(after Anand-Carlsen) is being held in november 2014??

Anonymous's picture

Because FIDE is run from flying saucers.

Creemer's picture

Doesn't time slow down when you're moving very fast? If they really run FIDE from flying saucers, then the next WC would be in 2016 at the earliest!

There: debunked that theory! ;)

RG13's picture

The cycle to qualify for the World Championship is two years long but the actual World Championship matches are held every year if they can find sponsors. I think this gives more challengers a chance and also more opportunities for the champ to pocket a couple of million dollars for one match. There have been title matches in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and now the next will be 2013. So only one year (2009) was skipped since 2005.

Anonymous's picture

Two; you forgot 2011.

Thomas Oliver's picture

"There have been title matches in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008"
Not quite correct, 2005 and 2007 were tournaments (San Luis and Mexico) rather than matches. 2006 was the reunification match between Kramnik and Topalov, 2008 was the match between Mexico winner Anand and Kramnik (hitherto unbeaten in WCh matches).

So this was still a transitional period, then FIDE returned to two-year cycles. The reason why there will already be another WCh match in 2014 is that one cycle is still to be completed with the Anand-Carlsen match, and the next one is already well underway. I guess the _initial_ idea was to give AGON a head start with respect to organizing events.

Chess Fan's picture

Interesting and seems correct. Thanks Thomas.

Fishy's picture

So where is AGON now in this picture? Did FIDE diss them out?

Mike Magnan's picture

I think its going to be a really tough match.....Anand might not be winning Super Gm events anymore...but he's no walkover either...Carlsen..(Yes I'm a fan) still makes mistakes...and Anand will crucify him if he allows it....I wish both he players well.

Anonymous's picture

Even though it is Carlsen's first title match, he can only be considered the huge favorite against Anand. Clearly their strength shows in their respective results over the past years. Sadly I can't really see Anand winning a game if Carlsen plays up to his "normal" performance. I expect the world championship match to end with the result of 6.5 vs 1.5 (+5 =3 for Carlsen) after 8 games. If Anand should manage to win a game, it could be over after 9 games.

redivivo's picture

"Even though it is Carlsen's first title match"

The importance of title match experience is probably exaggerated. Spassky and Anand are the only World Champions to lose their first title match. Among non-Champions Schlechter, Bronstein, Leko, Topalov and Gelfand all drew their first title match (in classical chess). So I don't think title match experience means all that much.

Zeblakop's picture

The classical games of the match will all be drawn, and everybody agree on that.

Anonymous's picture

We already know who is the best chess player in the world, so why the match? In the past, when there was no rating and little number of tournaments nobody knew who was the best player, so matches were logical. This is not. For me, the best player is the one who has the highest rating and has won most open tournaments.

ShockeR's picture

What a nonsense !

rating doesnt mean really that much..

You clearly don't know what you're talking about..

Anonymous's picture

"rating doesnt mean really that much.."

How come?

Anonymous's picture

Some serious chess players want the best player to be determined by the match. They want to see two people slug it out. They don't care about the tournament queens, Elo giants, etc.

If you're too stupid to understand this there's no hope for you. Go jump off the Brooklin brydge.

ShockeR's picture

I still think that 12 games (and then rapid games if the result after the classical is a draw) is a ridicolous concept..

The World Championship match should be at least 20 games long, without the rapid "overtime". If the result after 20 games is a draw, then the defending champion holds his title. Just like in boxing..

Man I wish I was born earlier and could see the world championship matches before the 2000's era..

MK's picture

I agree with ShockeR - 12 games is too few number of games. It should be 20 or 24 atleast.

Anonymous's picture

"rating doesnt mean really that much.."
Only a nonsense player can write something like this nonsense.

Paul's picture

Every sport has something which is more important than than No1 Ranking. For example in tennis it is the Grand Slams. Let me take an extreme example, Lleyton Hewitt was number one ranked player in the world for around 75 weeks but Boris Becker only for 12 weeks. But Boris is considered a much better player because of his 6 Grandslam wins compared to Hewitt's only 2. Carlsen may be the Federer of Chess but only when he wins World Championship Title multiple times. Carlsen's fans have to wait till such time before calling him greatest player of all time. Till now his place may be among the Greatest ever among Non-world champions.

redivivo's picture

"Carlsen's fans have to wait till such time before calling him greatest player of all time"

I don't think anyone in their right mind would call Carlsen the greatest player of all time (even if it's often repeated that Carlsen's fans supposedly claim that he is). How could he at 22 have achieved more than Lasker did not only during his 27 years as World Champion but in tournaments, where he had excellent results from 1880s to 1930s?

Otherwise I think Carlsen's #1 position is based on him winning so many top events and being the best player, it isn't just some sort of Wozniacki effect where a player never wins against the top players and never wins any strong events but still reaches #1.

sdq's picture

Anand is humble unlike Carlsen & even more his arrogant fans. God will help Anand to win the match only to bring these people to shame. I know even then these people cant keep quiet. Other wise they would have waited till Nov & discussed real chess.

Greco's picture

1. Show me where MC wasnt humble.
2. "God hill help Anand win the match only to bring these people to shame"....really? LOL
3. If God became an argument against MC then you know the haters are getting desperate!!

SS's picture

Do you really need to know where MC wasn't humble ?

"I am the big star now"

"I deserved to win the Chess Oscar"

"I played the best chess in the Candidates tournament"

Just a few quotes that comes to mind. Some might say, these were tongue-in-cheek comments. In my view, it doesn't matter if these comments were made with a big smile on the face. They are still pretty arrogant.

Anonymous's picture

What a hateful nutter you are

Martin's picture

Thinking about all the evil in the world I have really wondered where god have been all the time. Now I know - he is busy following the chesscycle, the bastard!

Murtuza Hashim's picture

Viswanathan Anand is a battle hardened world chess champion. He has won matches against kramnik and topalov and the last match was tied with Gelfand. People may say that he is past his prime. He will be no push over for Carlsen. Only time will prove whether what I sfate here is true. In my opinion Carlsen does not have enough match experience. Anand has vastly more experience in this area therefore I favor him to tie the match to hold the title.

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