Predicting the World Championship Outcome?

The long awaited World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand is around the corner and you may be among the people wondering about the current Carlsen Anand head-to-head result.

Well, the current score is +6 -3 =20 in favor for Anand BUT before you surf away I must warn you that predicting the outcome of their duel is a bit more complicated than it seems.

Here are other facts you should at least consider before making up your mind.

1. About the Match

I suppose there is no need to present the two persons who will play in this encounter: Viswanathan Anand (current world champion) from India and Magnus Carlsen (challenger, winner of the Candidates Tournament 2013) from Norway. No need either to remind of the stake of this duel: the Chess World Champion title!

But maybe you don't know that the match will take place in November, from 6th to 26th in Chennai, India. This is double edged. It may give Anand an advantage as this is his home city but on the other hand, it may induce extra pressure.

Vishy AnandCredit: Stefan64

Viswanathan Anand in 2009, Photo Credit: Stefan64

2. Carlsen Anand Head-to-Head

This is probably the number you were after when you found this article.

Considering only classical games, Anand has the lead with 6 wins, 3 losses and 20 draws. Including rapid and blitz games does not change the score much: Anand is still leading with 15 wins 11 loss and 34 draws.

BUT, something worth noting is that among recent classical games (played in 2012 and 2013), Carlsen has won 2 games and the other 3 were draws. So the overall result is in favor of Anand but the recent encounters seem to give Carlsen as the favorite.

3. Match Experience

Something else to take into consideration is the experience these players have in a match format. Carlsen has played in many very strong tournaments (the London candidates 2013 was one of them) but what experience does he have in a 1 vs 1 match?

Magnus CarlsenCredit: Stefan64

Magnus Carlsen in 2008, Photo Credit: Stefan64

The most recent official match he has played was in 2006 against Loek Van Wely. Carlsen won it but only after the blitz games. This is very little experience compared to Anand.

Just mentioning the recent encounters faced by Anand: he won the World Championship match in 2008 against Vladimir Kramnik, in 2010 against Veselin Topalov and last year (2012) against Boris Gelfand. 

So, not only has Anand played more in this format but also against stronger opponents and he has also been more successful. 

For Carlsen's Fans

How Magnus Carlsen Became the Youngest Chess Grandmaster in the World: The Story and the Games
Amazon Price: $19.95 $10.29 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 19, 2015)
A new book about Carlsen to be released in September (available for pre-order).

4. Psychology

Another thing to take into consideration is psychology. It is difficult to realize how important psychology is in chess but the dramatic ending of the Candidates tournament (where both Kramnik and Carlsen lost their games) is another reminder of it.

Carlsen is the number 1 ranked player and his rating achievements so far have been impressive. Anand knows it and may suffer from overestimating his Norwegian rival.

Kramnik, in a recent interview was warning about it: "Magnus is an outstanding, remarkable player. Nonetheless, in my opinion, his hegemony in the chess world is overestimated." (translated from Russian).

Kasparov mentioned the following: "Magnus still has weaknesses as a player and Anand is an expert in exploiting the mistakes of others" but added that he was ready to help Carlsen in his preparation to the World Championship match.

Conclusion

It is of course difficult to make any predictions, even based on the Carlsen Anand head-to-head counter or the other facts mentioned here but what is sure is that we are going to assist to a great World Championship match against probably the 2 best curent chess players. Let us wish them both good luck and hope for great games.

Some Books Recommendations

Vishy Anand: World Chess Champion
Amazon Price: $29.95 $15.94 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 19, 2015)
Games by Anand annotated by Anand himself and John Nunn.
How to Reassess Your Chess: Chess Mastery Through Chess Imbalances
Amazon Price: $29.95 $18.72 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 19, 2015)
This is a really great book. The title is a bit unfortunate I think. This is not an exercise book to assess your chess skills. It is a book about chess strategy which helps you make a plan, assess imbalances in a position, etc... Highly recommended