The ongoing world chess title match between the reigning champion but out-of-form Magnus Carlsen and the Indian challenger in-form Viswanathan Anand is excitingly and intriguingly poised, say chess experts.
While both the players have two points each, these were earned tasting each other's blood once and signing truce twice.
The world chess title match between Carlsen and Anand is being played at Sochi in Russia.
"The next two games will be crucial for both the players. Anand plays white tomorrow (Friday). He won game 3 after a defeat and plays game 5 after a draw. If Anand approaches tomorrow's game as he did during third game (good home preparation, complicated position) it will have a pressure on Carlsen," said World No.23 and Indian Grandmaster P. Harikrishna.
According to him, the Friday game will be crucial for Anand and with white pieces he should play for a win.
He said the match is not only a clash of generations (Anand aged 44 and Carlsen, 23) but also clash of styles. Anand plays tactical chess while Carlsen likes to simplify.
However, looking at the first four games, some experts feel that Anand is in form while Carlsen is out of it.
"Anand is definitely in a better form than last year. Carlsen wasn't at his best so far, but it can change at any moment," said World No.7 and Grandmaster Anish Giri.
"Carlsen will always remain a favourite, but it's important for Anand to have won a game and to see that Magnus has his weaknesses," Giri added.
"This match is exciting and intriguing. Anand did not play well in the first two games. He was in trouble in game 1 and lost in game 2," said Susan Polgar, a four-time women's World chess champion.
"After demonstrating his superior home preparation in game 3 to score his first win against Carlsen in classical chess in many years, he did well in game 4 to hold with black. Even though the score is the same as in Chennai after 4 games (2-2), it seems that Anand is more relaxed in Sochi," she added.
According to her, Carlsen is not playing his best at the moment. It is time for him to refocus whereas Anand is playing well and with more confidence.
"Anand has to keep up this momentum," she said.
While Indian International Master V. Saravanan is also of the view that Carlsen does appear to be off colour, Harikrishna differs from others.
"Anand is in good form but it is not right to say Carlsen is not. Carlsen is playing as he did in the last title match in Chennai which he won against Anand," Harikrishna told IANS.
According to him, Anand did not give a tough fight in the Chennai match as he is doing in Sochi.
Harikrishna said Anand is defending well this time around and cited the last game that was drawn with the challenger playing black.
"If Anand continues to defend well and draws easily, it will add pressure on Carlsen. Playing white Anand will exert pressure on his opponent," Harikrishna added.
Experts say Anand has kept his positions more dynamic. If he wants to have a chance at the title and if the positions are dried, they will favour Carlsen.
As to Carlsen's strategy in the fifth game to be played Friday Giri said: "Carlsen has to survive the opening with the black pieces (not to lose like in game 3) and try to find back his killer instinct in better positions.
"So far, he has wasted two better positions (game 1 and 4)... that's too much for his incredibly high standards," Giri said.
Updated Date: Nov 14, 2014 13:41:08 IST