November 4, 2014

'Victory has defeated you' - My prediction

Making bold predictions is something not many titled players are willing to do in chess. The game is so erratic that predictors often have to eat their own words. Yet, readers always look for a definite broadcast rather than diplomatic forecasts. In his open and direct article, IM Narayanan Srinath gives his candid opinion on who he considers to be the favourite in the Carlsen- Anand 2014 match. Have a look at what he thinks. 

"Interviewer: What's your prediction for the fight?
Clubber Lang: My prediction?
Interviewer: Yes, your prediction.
[Clubber looks into camera]
Clubber Lang: Pain!" - Clubber Lang on the 2nd match after this: 

I am sure it's not hard to imagine Magnus in place of Clubber Lang saying something similar.

I remember reading this article last year and thinking "It'll be nothing like Rocky vs Drago, it'll be more like Bruce Wayne vs Bane"

Indeed, probably nothing epitomises the 2013 duel between Vishy and Magnus better than the fight.  Vishy had been invincible in matches until that point, and yet almost everyone predicted that the Tiger of Madras had become older, weaker, while Magnus seemed much more fearsome.  One can recount Vishy's words "Carlsen will be ridiculously difficult to play against"   The match went on in similar vein as the video, with Vishy getting in a few blows, which barely made an impact on Magnus, and getting so thoroughly defeated in the protagonist's hometown.

At 43, it indeed looked like the ex-world champion's vertebrae had been broken, at least metaphorically.  I wasn't an exception - Anand wasn't among my top 3 contenders for the Candidates 2014.

Life isn't Hollywood, and fairy tales aren't usually scripted in real life however, Anand's victory in the Candidates, itself exemplified tremendous resolve and inner strength. If Anand was like Gandalf the Grey before 2014 Candidates, he's probably like Gandalf the White now.

It's not just his victory in the Candidates. The most impressive things in Anand's recent form has been:-

1.Anand's convincing play against Aronian(someone he has always had trouble with)
2.Anand's victory over Magnus in the World Rapid
3.Anand staying undefeated in World Rapid, a grueling event that demands a lot of stamina

While Anand seemed almost reclusive and tense prior to the 2013 match, he appears to be relaxed, and seems to exude a lot of confidence from his tweets.

Photo Credits:Maria Emelianova
This is how Vishy looks to me before the match. Cool, calm and composed!

So my prediction...... is something like this:

I think Vishy will win something like 6.5-5.5 or in the rapid tiebreaks.  While I can't be completely certain about the margin, I am pretty optimistic about the winner - not because of emotional reasons, but for quite rational reasons.  I don't think Magnus's recent slump in form and Vishy's enhanced form is merely a coincidence - I think it's a strong indication of recent trends, and if you want to bet your money, as they say in stock markets, trend is always your friend.

About the Author

Narayanan Srinath is an International Master with two GM norms from India and has a rating of 2461. He has been playing chess since the age of five and has numerous achievements to his credit, the most prominent being the world under-12 champion in 2005. He is a critical thinker and thinks deeply not only about the game of chess but life itself.