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Monday, September 2, 2013

World Chess Championship 2013: Anand's Psychological Training method for Carlsen

Alexandra Kosteniuk's Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) 2013

Hi everyone, 

Here's the latest chess news update from the Indian newspapers about World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand's preparation fr the upcoming World Championship versus Carlsen. 

"You kind of put yourself in his head and think," says Viswanathan Anand. The head in question belongs to Magnus Carlsen, the man who seeks to dethrone the Indian world chess champion. After months of anticipation, the decks have been cleared for the title clash in Chennai between November 7 and 26. Anand gave a short preview of the mind games in the offing to Economic Times.

"The opponent hasn't played you before in a match, and you know that for him you are the first time," he says about the championship, giving a glimpse of the mental terrain that he hopes to draw Carlsen into. Anand says there might be two different warriors who take the board in November. "In a match, people alter their personalities," he says, "By this, I mean preparation and style."

The champ is hard at work in an undisclosed training location outside the country. Is the match slowly becoming real to him? "It is," he says, "But it always becomes real when you arrive at the venue and more so when you catch a glimpse of your opponent, his physical language, etc." Magnus's recent recce to Chennai has raised the temperature. Did he track the Norwegian's progress? "Before a match I do not follow any chess news except the games," says Anand. "Aruna mentioned that he was in town and I don't know much else. I hope he enjoyed his stay," he adds diplomatically. 

There was one part of Carlsen's itinerary that Anand did follow — when Carlsen took on 20 young talents simultaneously. In a shocker, he lost 4 and drew 6. "I am so proud of our chess kids," says Anand. "In a way, for me, it's a sense of personal pride. The children post the Anand effect beat the World No. 1, not once but four times."

The Anand effect is, of course, the chess explosion in India since he became GM in 1988. The championship venue at the Hyatt Regency is not too far from his residence. Will he "commute" to work, as it were? He shoots down the idea, "I would treat it like any other world championship. In fact, I would be even more disciplined here." Carlsen had worked in Anand's preparatory camps in 2007 and '08. Will this help the Norwegian? "Definitely, he has some idea of how I work and what I look for. But this information works both ways," Anand says. (Jaideep Unudurti)

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