CHESS

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOVIES -

THE ODDS are 7:2 that Nor­we­gian Mag­nus Carlsen will win the World Cham­pi­onship match which starts to­day in Chen­nai, In­dia. And Lad­brokes On­line Bet­ting put the odds against world cham­pion Viswanathan Anand win­ning at 5:2.

Anand, 43, has been world cham­pion since 2007, sur­viv­ing ti­tle de­fences against Vladimir Kram­nik – from whom he won the ti­tle – Ve­selin Topalov and Boris Gelfand. He is the 15th cham­pion since 1886.

Carlsen, 22, has been world num­ber one since Jan­uary 2010.

He en­ters the match as a heavy favourite – he has a streak of 2 800plus per­for­mances which be­gan three years ago and has achieved the high­est rat­ing in chess his­tory.

Both play­ers are pop­u­lar with fans, so neu­tral ob­servers will be torn; it seems younger play­ers want the Nor­we­gian to usher in a new era while older chess buffs may be hop­ing for an Anand win.

The win­ner will earn $1.45 mil­lion (R14.87m) and the loser just un­der $1m, though the sums will be closer to­gether should the match go to tiebreaks. Carlsen has al­ready pock­eted $137 000 of the prize fund for agree­ing to play on his op­po­nent’s home turf, spend­ing the money bring­ing his body­guard and chef to Chen­nai.

To­day’s match is tak­ing place at the Hy­att Re­gency over a max­i­mum of 12 games. The win­ner is the first to score 6.5 points or more. If the scores are level af­ter the 12 games, af­ter a new draw­ing of colours four tie-break games will be played.

To fol­low the games live, Chess- Base, the week in chess and other sites are of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety of choices, whether you are watch­ing from the com­fort of your home or from your smart­phone or tablet, and you should have grand­mas­ter qual­ity anal­y­sis avail­able.

The play­ers are sealed off from hu­man and elec­tronic as­sis­tance, but use tech­nol­ogy for prepa­ra­tions.

For­mer In­dian cham­pion Ab­hi­jit Kunte says: “Most top play­ers use cus­tom-built com­put­ers. For in­stance, to­day if we are com­monly us­ing quad-core or 8-core, the top play­ers use con­fig­u­ra­tions that process the data 400 times faster.”

In­dian grand­mas­ter Hari Kr­ishna said: “I ex­pect both camps will be us­ing mod­est 32-core pro­cess­ing sys­tems. There is also a cloud en­gine which you can take ad­van­tage of. This gi­ant ma­chine can be ac­cessed by your lap­top.”

On the pre­ferred choice of search en­gines, Hou­dini 3 Pro, which sup­ports up to 32 pro­ces­sor cores and 256GB of RAM, is the likely choice. Not all en­gines un­der­stand all po­si­tions, so the hu­man mind is the ul­ti­mate ar­biter of which move to make.

Anand and Carlsen have for long used their minds, men and ma­chines to pre­pare. Now is the time to test their met­tle.

● I am invit­ing lo­cal play­ers to con­trib­ute their opin­ions to my web­site, www.thechess­nik.com, or e-mail thechess­nik@gmail.com.

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