The battle has already begun. World no. 8 and undisputed Chess World Champion Vishwanathan Anand is already two rounds into the competition with World no. 1 Norwegian Chess wonderkind Magnus Carlsen.
There is a 21 year old age-gap between the two Champions, and 23 year old Carlsen begins as favorite for his first world title.
Carlsen won the 2013 Candidates tournament earlier this year in London. He finished with 5 wins, 2 losses and 7 draws and won the tiebreak over Kramnik.
Here are a few facts about the two competitors doing battle in Chennai till 28th November:
-Carlsen has won the Chess Oscars for 4 years in a row since 2008. He holds the world record for the highest-ever peak FIDE rating of 2872 (Feb 2013). He also won the world Blitz Championship in 2009.
-Anand has won the World Chess Championship 5 times, the latest a win in 2012 over Boris Gelfand. He has been the undisputed Chess Champion since 2007. (’07, ’08, ’10, ’12)
-Carlsen is the third youngest Grandmaster in chess history- at 13 years and 148 days (2004). He is the youngest to achieve the World no. 1 ranking (19 years and 32 days)
-Carlsen has a 3 win, 6 loss and 20 draw record against Anand, a record that is sure to get better as he progresses.
-Anand is one of the other 5 players to break the 2800 mark. Anand has been out of the top 5 for the first time since ’96, his limpest streak, after conceding the no. 1 ranking to Carlsen back in 2011.
-Carlsen dropped out controversially from the Candidates tournament back in 2010- after being coached/mentored by legend Kasparov for a year. He broke Kasparov’s record of 2851 this year.
-Carlsen is known for his endgame and aggressive midgame, not for his opening preparation- an aspect that almost cost him the first game against Anand (with blacks) of the competition.
-Anand, in his whole career, has been ranked 1 only for 15 months. He wasn’t ranked 1 till he was 37.
-He has defeated Shirov, Topalov, Kramnik and Gelfand in Championship games since 2000.
-Anand has won the Chess Oscars 6 times- 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. Carlsen has won it since 2008.
-Carlsen shattered Kramnik’s record (age 25) of being the youngest ever player to break 2800 (18 years 336 days)