Travel-weary Anand looks to retain crown

Travel-weary Anand looks to retain crown

Viswanathan Anand

The travel-weary Anand had requested a three-day postponement after he arrived here four days late because of air traffic disruption but the organisers pushed the event at the Military Club in Sofia by just one day.

“I am very happy to be here, it was a longer trip than we expected. The main thing I came here for is to play chess,” said the Indian wizard ahead of his first match on Saturday.“I want to thank FIDE for the understanding and I hope the chess fans will see a good match,” he added.

Anand has won the title on three occasions in 2000, 2007 and 2008 while Topalov is the 2005 winner. The match will consist of 12 games and the first player to score 6.5 points will be the winner. In case the scores are equal at 6-6, four tie-break games will be played in the Rapid format on May 13.

A rest day is scheduled after every two games. The prize fund is 20 lakh Euros, the highest ever in recent times and will be shared by the two players. Pananqiotis Nikolopoulos of Greece is the Chief arbiter.

On head-to-head count, Topalov has slight edge over Anand, having won 11 times, compared to Anand’s 10, out of the 44 encounters they had played against each other. In terms of match experience, Anand is the favourite and showed sparkling form in Germany 2008 against Vladimir Kramnik.

Topalov said “This is an historic event for Bulgaria, we are a small country. We cannot organise Olympic games and this championship is a very effective way of promotion for the country. For five years, Anand and I have dominated the chess world, and this match should have happened long time ago.”

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