Viswanathan Anand has both experience and momentum on his side as he enters the 2014 World Chess Championship but knows he is the underdog against reigning champion Magnus Carlsen, whom the Indian Grandmaster describes as "tenacious".
Anand will face Carlsen in the 2014 world championship, which starts in Sochi on Friday. For the full schedule, date, timings and other details, click HERE.
Both men had featured in the 2013 edition of the competition held in Chennai, though Anand was the world champion then and Carlsen the challenger. And the Norwegian prodigy beat the five-time world champion comprehensively (6.5-3.5 after 10 of the 12 scheduled games) on his home turf, to win his first ever world championship at the age of 22.
Carlsen, who became a Grandmaster at the age of 14 - second youngest in chess history, then went on to win the Rapid and Blitz titles earlier this year, to become the first player in history to be the reigning world champion in all three formats.
"He has achieved a lot and is tenacious in his play. He will definitely come to Sochi motivated," NDTV quoted Anand as saying.
Anand has returned as the challenger this year by winning the Candidates Tournament held in Khanty-Mansiysk back in March. The 44-year-old has been at the top of his game ever since as he went on to win the Bilbao Masters as well, and feels he is ready to take on Carlsen.
"I am in general, happy with my chess performance this year. Actually in 2013, I had some good results but those were marred by a few bad losses. In 2014, I was more consistent in Khanty Mansiysk and Bilbao and played the chess I enjoy playing. So I would say I approach Sochi with positive feelings," the Indian pointed out.
Anand has now played six world championships since 2007 but the veteran is not concerned about the numbers game. He revealed that he had considered calling it quits, after winning five world championships, but the passion for the game kept him going.
"Six [championships] in seven years, I didn't realise it. Like I said, I really compete with myself. There have been times when you think you have had enough and always, after a few moments you realise - No you always want more!
"Chess for me is something that I am fascinated with. I still realise that there are so many openings to learn from, to explore more. New variations to uncover, the ones that can blow the lid off, making months of work redundant. Still, when I start work on chess, I feel like a six-year-old with a chessboard, waiting at Tal club to play Blitz," he added.