Sunday, October 27, 2013
World Championship Mystery
Anand vs Carlsen: Mystery surrounds seconds ahead of the big clash
Archiman Bhaduri, TNN | Oct 28, 2013, 01.45 AM IST
KOLKATA: Magnus Carlsen was still a teen prodigy when Viswanathan Anand had him in his team. It was 2009, Anand was preparing for his title clash against Veselin Topalov, and the Indian champion went on record, saying Carlsen would be one of his seconds. The Norwegian didn't officially come on board, but he gave valuable inputs to the Indian as he went on to beat Topalov. And Anand was the first to acknowledge how important Carlsen had been in his quest for glory against Topalov.
"He had already helped me before, in Bonn and Mexico. Very few people can simulate a real tournament situation like Magnus can. We played a lot of blitz, and I felt good, because I was able to test a lot of areas I was unfamiliar with before. With Magnus you can test any position, because he can play almost any position," Anand said in praise of the youngster.
Things have changed since then and Carlsen is now the hottest property on planet chess. He has won everything to become Anand's challenger and as he prepares for the title clash, there is an unbelievable secrecy in both the camps about the identity of their seconds. Both are holding their cards close to the chest for the simple reason that their style of play can be detected if the identity of the seconds is known.
However, sources close to the Anand camp have informed that Surya Sekhar Ganguly and Sandipan Chanda, two Indian Grandmasters, had been working with the defending champion in Germany. It's a great honour for any player to be associated with the biggest match, but they are bound by a code of silence, signing contracts with the players concerned that they won't talk about it before the game gets over.
"You can say I have gone underground," Ganguly told TOI, when he returned to Kolkata a few days back for the festival break. While he would refuse to divulge where he was, it was understood that he, along with Chanda and a couple of others were in Germany with Anand and Aruna (his wife and manager) preparing for the game.
Nothing is emerging from the Carlsen camp either. In fact, dummies are being sold about the identity of the people who are helping the World No. 1 in his preparation. While he said sometime back he was going to discuss his preparations with Garry Kasparov, the recent buzz is that they are not on the same page anymore.
Peter Nielsen, the Danish chess coach who had worked with both the players in different stages of their careers, has chosen to keep himself away for this Championship match. Nielsen knows how both the players approach a game and he felt it would have been unethical if he had joined any one of the camps.