Monday 8 September 2014

Anand Carlsen II - The Sochi Boogaloo

Well after all the "will he or won't he", Magnus Carlsen has signed the contract for his upcoming title defence against Viswanathan Anand in Sochi, Russia. The match will take place between the 6th and 27th of November, and will be the now normal 12 game format, with playoffs at the end if necessary.
Carlsen had requested both a delay to the match, which was denied, and a delay to the signing date, which was agreed to. Obviously his participation in the Sinquefield Cup was his immediate priority, but once that was over he seemed to agree to the match terms quite quickly.
There are of course some possible issues with the political situation surrounding Russia, including sanctions by the EU on the Russian Government, and various oligarchs. However I'm assuming this will either be sorted before the match, or dealt with after it has finished.
As for early predictions, Carlsen is the obvious favourite. Of course Anand may be a different player than in 2013, as the weight of defending the title is no longer on him. I would not be surprised if Anand adopts a much more aggressive style, in the hope of knocking Carlsen off balance early. This may of course result in an 'all or nothing' scenario, which may see Carlsen win heavily if it does not work for Anand.
For now I am tipping Carlsen, although better predictions can probably be made after Anand finishes the upcoming Bilbao Masters event.

No comments: