Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Anand to have Carlsen as a second for the World Championship with Topalov (or is he?)

A recent newspaper interview indicates that Vishy Anand is to have Magnus Carlsen as one of his seconds for the World Championship match with Veselin Topalov In April 2010.

Anand broke the news himself in an interview given to an unnamed staff reporter on the Calcutta Telegraph. Asked whether Indian GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly would be his one of his seconds, Anand replied: "He may be. I am not sure. Seconds are a very secretive thing. Even if I tell you that he will be one of my seconds, the rival camp will not believe me. But one thing is for sure, Magnus Carlsen (the world No. 2) will be one of the seconds."

By the time of the match Carlsen may well be world no.1 so it does seem slightly strange that Carlsen should support a player whom he would surely hope to challenge in a subsequent world championship (assuming Vishy retains his title, of course). Any cooperation between Anand and Carlsen would involve Vishy revealing his box of opening tricks to his future challenger. But perhaps it would also reveal something of Carlsen's modus operandi to the wily champion.

With his immediate target in mind, Anand must be hoping that this early revelation of the ace in his hand will deal a psychological blow to his Bulgarian challenger - much in the same way that, earlier this year, the announcement that Magnus Carlsen was being coached by Garry Kasparov was timed to boost Carlsen's challenge against Topalov in the 'Pearl Spring' super-tournament in China. I'm just wondering whether it means that Anand will get a degree of Kasparovian support at second remove - Garry tells Magnus, and Magnus tells Vishy? Veselin Topalov and his team have occasionally been accused of paranoia - but maybe they really are all out to get him.

But HOLD THE FRONT PAGE! It seems that the interviewer could have messed up. ChessBase News are now reporting that Anand may have said 'Nielsen' and not 'Carlsen'! This would make sense as Peter Heine Nielsen has been Anand's second on several occasions. To which we can only say "OH! CALCUTTA!"...

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