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.
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