Match this

The Anand-Carlsen face-off promises to have more than the world chess title at stake.

Viswanathan Anand has been the undisputed world champion for more than six years now, having thrice defended the title he won in 2007. However, the 43-year-old has struggled of late and in Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, 21 years his junior and the sport's highest-ranked player ever, Anand will face his toughest championship opponent to date. In fact, betting houses have made Carlsen the outright favourite for the title. Beating Carlsen, dubbed the "Mozart of Chess" by the world media, would be the greatest achievement of Anand's career, one that will surely make him the equal of the likes of Garry Kasparov, who enjoys a more unchallenged status as a great of the game.

For Carlsen, who has been an unstoppable force on the circuit for around two years now, the world title will put the seal of approval on his domination. Were he to win the match, Carlsen would become the youngest champion at 22, a record he would share with Kasparov. The Russian has predicted that we are in for a decade of domination, the Carlsen-era. There is also an expectation around the chess world that with Carlsen as the world champion and Kasparov as the president of the world body, FIDE, the cash-strapped sport will have better success in marketing itself.

The match, which will consist of 12 games played in the classical format, also promises to be a clash of styles. Anand is known for his opening preparations and his ability to thrive in double-edged positions while Carlsen's play is described variously as universal, positional and one that involves slow strangulation of the opponent with his superior endgame technique, energy and motivation levels. The match may lack the political subtext of the Fischer-Spassky duel, but it certainly promises to be epochal for chess.

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