Anand – Kramnik World Chess Championship 2008
Indian ace Viswanathan Anand named former world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov as one of his seconds for the high-profile World Championship match against Russian Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik which gets underway in Bonn tomorrow.
Apart from Kasimdzhanov, Anand will also take the services of his trusted partner Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark, Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland and Indian national champion Surya Shekhar Ganguly.
The championship, to be played over 12 classical games and then — in the event of a tied result — over games of shorter duration, carries a total prize pool of Euro 1.5 million which will be equally split between the players.
After Kramnik’s announcement of having Hungarian Peter Leko in his camp, there was much speculation on Anand’s team composition for the historical match. The Indian showed he indeed had an ace up his sleeves in the form of Kasimdzhanov, a former world champion in the knockout format.
Apart from Leko, Kramnik’s two other seconds are Sergey Rublevskyi (Russia) and Laurent Fressinet (France).
Meanwhile, Kasimdzhanov’s appointment also ended speculation over Magnus Carlsen’s possible presence in Anand’s team. The Norwegian wonder-kid will be playing the European Club Cup in Greece during the World Championship.
Going by track record, Kramnik holds a slight edge as he had beaten now-retired Garry Kasparov in the year 2000. Besides, the Russian also was clearly the much better player in the last such match when he beat Veselin Topalov.
Anand, on the other hand, has had some fine victories in the past but the big handicap that the Indian faces now is lack of big match practice in recent past.
Anand and Kramnik have already inspected the playing venue. Both were not comfortable with their chairs, so they had to be replaced. Rest rooms were checked next.
The match consists of 12 games, played under classical time controls — 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.