20 Apr 2013

Kramnik: I believe Anand definitely has his chances

Kasparov on the candidates, Kramnik on Anand-Carlsen 
Published on Friday, April 19, 2013 00:00
Written by Zaldy Dandan

FORMER world champ Gary Kasparov, who turned 50 on April13th, has weighed in on the recently held London candidates, and his comments, as usual, are very interesting:

“The tournament showed that rumors of the death of classical chess were somewhat exaggerated. It was a vivid spectacle, there was a high number of decisive games… Yes, it ended up being a wonderful tournament, but I’m not sure it was the best ever.”

His former student, Carlsen, won but according to Gary, the tournament showed Magnus’s “weaknesses in terms of the opening and his ability to play deciding games. For example, the final round was the game of [his] life, and he lost it. He got lucky that his rival [Kramnki] also succumbed.

Who did Carlsen beat in this tournament? The bottom half of the table. Against his strongest rivals he didn’t play convincingly. His style also isn’t fully developed. For instance, in the final game against Svidler he had to choose 30.Bh8! instead of 30.Bh4. That’s a different kind of chess, however, and Magnus doesn’t yet play that way. Anand is an experienced fighter and is capable of playing a strong match. Nevertheless, if Carlsen does some work and eliminates his flaws he’ll undoubtedly win, because at the moment he plays chess better than Anand. Incidentally, Kramnik also plays better than Anand.”

As for the only man who managed to beat him in a match, here’s what Gary has to say: “It’s hard to call me a big Kramnik fan, but he really did play brilliantly. That was one of the best tournaments of his career.”

Overall, Gary says, “the tournament showed who’s who.”

In an interview, former world champ Kramnik admitted that he was “a bit unlucky” in London but says Carlsen’s strengths are “overestimated”: “I believe that both Aronian and I can match his skills. Well, he has certain qualities: young age, lots of energy, a good nervous system, incredible motivation, killer instinct...but in the chess sense I don’t see why he should be a lot stronger, if at all, (than me or Levon).”

Asked about the upcoming world championship match, Kramnik says: “I believe [Anand] definitely has his chances. It is absolutely realistic. The only problem that I think Anand is facing is that he — this is just my opinion — is somewhat intimidated by Carlsen. He is playing unconfidently against him — he’s scared of him, I would say…. He should relax and not be afraid of Magnus. One can face Carlsen and actually beat him. If Anand manages to prepare himself this way, then I think the chances will be equal. If not, then his chances will be very low. 

Psychology matters a lot in world championship matches. This is probably the first plot of the match. I would say that if he manages to hold the pressure of Magnus for at least 6 games (i.e., tie at 3-3), then Anand will become a favorite in my eyes…. . In the opening Anand is clearly superior to Magnus. [Anand] is a very difficult match opponent, because he is extremely well-prepared. It is so hard to obtain a promising position against him even with white. During our match I had to take immense risks to somehow lure him out of his armor coat, but I didn’t succeed.”

Kramnik describes Carlsen as “an improved version of Karpov….. Cold-blooded, rather pragmatic, somewhat melancholic even. His chess is also swampy, laidback, choky/boa constrictor type…. His skills are remarkable.”

More here: http://www.mvariety.com

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