Changing of the Guard.

There is a good possibility of a changing of the guard with the upcoming World Championship Chess Match. This has happened a few times in chess history. A changing of the guard occurs when the next generation chess talent takes over and one of its members becomes world champion. This occurred when Tal defeated Botvinnik in the 1960 World Championship. It occurred again in 1972 when Fischer defeated Spassky. It occurred again when Kasparov defeated Karpov n the 1985 and still again when Kramnik defeated Kasparov in 2000. The Anand-Kramnik era  of dominance  maybe coming to an end, if Magnus Carlsen , a member of the next generation ,can defeat Vishy Anand in the World Championship this November .

  Vishy Anand is facing his third title defense at the age of 43. No doubt this defense will be the toughest of Anandís career.  Most champions are ex champions at this point in their careers.  He is facing Magnus Carlsen, a very young talented chess player, who happens to be the highest rated player in the history of the game.   There is a good possibility that Anand will lose the title to Carlsen.

Top 4 Reason why there will be a changing of the guard.

1) Anandís age 43, few champions defend their titles into their 40ís.

2) Anandís third title defense, few champions successfully defend the title that many times .

3) Anand has given Carlsen reason to believe he can win the title.

4) Anand will not bring the 9th pawn with him when he defends his title. The Ninth Pawn is the advantage only a champion can bring to the match; it represents the confidence due to successful trial and test. The Champion should think that he is the greatest player in the world.


  Since Fideís control of the world championship process, two world championship matches come to mine that matched a young top talented GM against a seasoned veteran World Champion. The first was Botvinnik vs. Tal in 1960 and the second was Karpov vs. Kasparov in 1984. Both matches ended well for the young challengers, both eventually defeated the champions, but on closer inspection only one went decisively well for the challenger, and that occurred in the 1960 match.    I think the analysis of these two matches will help us determine the likely outcome of Anand vs.  Carlsen.


Age plays an important factor. Here are the approximate ages of champions who lost their titles:  Steinitz was 58, Lasker was 53, Capablana was 39, Alekhine was 43, Euwe was 36, Botvinnik when he first lost his title was 46, lost it again at 49 and finally at 52, Tal was 24, Petrosian was 40, Spassky was 36, Fischer retired at 32, Karpov was 34, Kasparov was 37, and Kramnik was 32. Vishy Anand will be 43 when he defends his title for the third time.

Since Fide has controlled the championship, history tells us that world champions usually lose their titles by or before their third defense. 

  World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik won his title after winning the 1948Championship Tournament that was organized after then Champion Alexander Alekhine died.  Botvinnik, while champion, never won a world championship match.  He did successfully defend his title by drawing his matches with his challengers.  He drew matches with Bronstein in 1951 and Smyslov in 1954.  Botvinnik lost his title by losing to challengers:  Smyslov in a third title defense in 1957, Tal in 1960, and Petrosian in 1963. Botvinnik regained the title by defeating Smyslov in 1958 and Tal in 1961. Both Smyslov and Tall lost their only title defenses.  Petrosian, who was challenged by Spassky twice, won the first defense in 1966 and lost the second in 1969. Boris Spassky lost his only defense in 1972 to Bobby Fischer, who retired from chess in 1975.  Karpov, after getting the title by default when Fischer retired, successfully defended his title in 1978 and 1981 against Viktor Kortchnoi. Karpov third defense was a failed, aborted match against Kasparov. Karpov would lose the 4th defense to Kasparov, who would be the exception to the rule.  He successfully defended his title 5 times, defeating:  Karpov in 1986, 1987, and 1990, Nigel Short in 1993, and Vishy Anand in 1995. Kasparov would lose his sixth defense to Kramnik in 2000. Kramnik successfully defended his title in 2004 by drawing with Peter Leko and was successful again against Veselin Topalov in 2006, winning on tie breaker.  Kramnik finally lost his third title defense in 2008 against Anand.   Vishy Anand, the current champion, has successfully defended his title two times, once against Topalov in 2010 and against Boris Gelfand in 2012.

   If we consider pre-Fide period,  Steinitz defend his title 5 times before losing to Emanuel Lasker in 1894, Lasker was able to defend it successfully 6 times,  before losing his 7th defense to Jose Capablana in 1921.  Capablana lost his only defense against Alekhine in 1927.  Alekhine lost his third title defense to Max Euwe in 1935.  Euwe lost his only defense to Alekhine in 1937.

    Title defense history is not on Anandís side.  World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik stated that each world championship match takes a year off the end of a playerís life. If you just consider the true lineage of world championship matches, this is Anandís 5th world championship match, and his fourth since 2008.

Anand has given Carlsen reason to believe he can win.

 The overall record between these players favors Anand by a score of 6-3 with 20 draws. However the trend is in Carlsenís favor, having won 2 out of the last 8 games. Those two wins came in 30 moves or less. In their last, decisive game, Carlsen totally dominated Anand.  Carlsen attack seemed to appear out of thin air, just like a storm in the middle of the ocean.  Carlsenís 2013 tournament record is also much better than Anandís record, whose 2013 record is inconsistent at best. Out of 9 events Anand has finished first only once and 2nd place three times. Carlsen on the other hand has two first place finishes and 3 second place out of 6 events. Carlsen is ranked number one in the world with a rating of 2872 while Anand is ranked 8th with a 2775 rating. Both players tournament record since 2010 clearly favors Carlsen.


Anand will not bring the 9th Pawn.

When a boxer wins the title, he becomes a better boxer.  I believe this happens when a chess player becomes a world champion. He becomes a better player.  He knows he is the best of his kind. He is best by successful trial and test.  Recently Anand made a dangerous concession, stating that Magnus Carlsen is the greatest talent Anand has ever seen. Gary Kasparov also made a similar concession prior to his failed defense against Kramnik, when Gary stated he could lose this match. Prior to his challenge for the title, Leko made a similar statement about then Champion Vladimir Kramnik, when Leko said Kramnik looks the deepest into a chess position than any chess player.  Leko failed win the title and had had to console himself with drawing the match, when he lost the final, dramatic game of the match. The Champion can only bring the 9th pawn if his recent track record is good and he is a confident champion.  Anand is near the bottom of the top ten and has an inconsistent tournament record.


Two similar matches:

   In the 1960 Botvinnik vs. Tal match, Mikhail Tal, the young, top rated player, was facing a fading champion.  Mikhail Botvinnik, the champion, was 49 years old and was not very active in the tournament scene.  He was more scientist than chess player. He had already lost his title to Smyslov in 1957 and regained it the following year due to the rematch clause. Botvinnik had never decisively defeated a challenger.   Even though the 23 year old Tal never played Botvinnik, Tal had to be very confident at the start of the match. It is well known, that Tal was not confident before the first game because he usually lost the first game of many tournaments before finding his way.  Talís sense of worry about first game proved to be faulty and he handily defeated Botvinnik in the first game and got commanding lead and never relinquished it.  Tal won the match by a 6-2 score.  Tal would also fall victim to Botvinnikís rematch clause and would lose his title in 1961 by a similar margin.


   In the 1984 Karpov vs. Kasparov match, Garry Kasparov, a rising star, didnít fare as well in his first challenge for the World Title. He was 21 years of age and facing a World Champion, who according to Viktor Kortchnoi was at the peak of his powers. Prior to the match, Kasparov had never defeated Karpov. They had played a few times, and the games ended in draws. Even though Kasparov was the highest rated player at the time, he was not very confident. He didnít understand Karpovís style of play.     Karpov was the 2nd highest player in the world and was still dominating tournaments.   Karpov showed no weakness in his amour. He gave Kasparov no reason to believe he could win the match. By Kasparovís own admissions he did not feel confident about beating Karpov.  Just prior to the match, Kasparov had hoped he could defeat the Champion.  He suffered from nerves at the start of the match. He lost 4 out of 11 games and trailed 4-0. Karpov failed to seize on this and waited for Kasparov to hand him the two other victories needed to win the match. This did not occur and the match went on for months.  Kasparov  rallied by winning the last two games, but  Fide, citing player exhaustion, length of the match,  and poor quality of the games, stopped the match with Karpov was still leading 5-3.


The Likely outcome of Anand vs. Carlsen 2013 Chess World Championship Match

I think the Anand vs. Carlsen match is closest to the Botvinnik vs. Tal match. Carlsen is facing a fading champion not at the top of his game and in his third title defense. Carlsen has good reason to believe he can win this match. Anand has started slowly in his last two world championship defenses. He lost the first game to Topalov, in his 2010 match, but was able to recover and win the match in the final game. In his 2012 match against Gelfand, Anand, with white, lost game 8, but rallied to tie the match and win on tie breaker. With almost 100 point rating advantage, I expect Carlsen to continue his trend against Anand.  I expect Carlsen to pick up where he left off at the Fide Candidate Tournament. Just like Tal, I expect Carlsen to take advantage of another Anand slow start and take an early, commanding lead and never look back.  Magnus Carlsen has good reason to believe he can win this match.