I have psychological edge over Anand: Magnus Carlsen

CHENNAI (TIP): The mind games have well and truly begun.With a week to go for the duel between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen, the pre-match war of words are already on. Known to be unabashedly forthright, Carlsen made no attempts to veil his supposition, clearly picking himself over his five-time world champion opponent at least with regard to enjoying the mental edge.

“It will be a new match, and it will live its own life. But if anyone has a psychological advantage, it’s me,” said the Nordic prodigy. Admitting that it took a fair share of time for him to come to terms with an impend ing rematch, the 24-year old pegged the Indian veteran’s chances no better than his last year show. “To start with, I did not expect him to win the Candidates. Initially, it was a bit surreal. It felt weird to know that I have to face Anand again. At least, it did at first. Now I’m over it, and it feels okay. He has qualified and deserves it.

Anand has been consistent and made very few mistakes in all the tournaments he’s played this year. “Having said that, I feel Anand’s prospective strength at this World Championship can only be assessed from his show at last year’s title match, and not the tournaments that he has played this year.” Anand’s long-time second Peter Heine Nielsen, who worked with the Indian for close to a decade, and is now a part of Team Carlsen, says he is to blame partly for Anand’s failures. “Honestly, I very surprised when he qualified. I think he was surprised himself. He has this amazing ability to make a comeback, even when things go against him. Anand won his first two titles clearly.

After that, it slowly started going downhill, something I may have also been one of the reasons for.We were doing things in a specific way, which worked out very well at the time, but then it cooled off,” says the Danish GM before tipping Anand for the title.

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