Viswanathan Anand might have had a nightmare of a World Chess Championship title defence in Chennai last year, uncharacteristically fumbling at all the wrong moments against the formidable Magnus Carlsen, who took full advantage and never looked back.
But then, Anand is not a multiple world champion and one of the sport's all-time greats for no reason, and if there is a chess player who can stop the young Norwegian from retaining his title it is Anand as the World Chess Championship 2014 gets underway in Sochi on Saturday.
The opening ceremony for this grand World Chess Championship in Sochi took place on Friday, and there was also that important draw to see which player will start with which piece.
Anand drew the long straw in that particular draw on Friday, and will start with the white pieces on Saturday in the always-crucial Game 1.
The beginning of such a high-profile contest is always so important, and Carlsen will know a Game 1 victory will dent Anand's confidence quite a bit, and therefore, the 23-year-old will be keen to start the title match on the front foot.
"I could have been severely punished [for my slow start in Chennai]," said Carlsen. "Obviously, it's important for me to get off with a more confident start."
Carlsen heads into this rematch as the clear favourite, and Anand will know he is the underdog, and how the Indian reacts to that particular aspect, with the pressure being less on him than the champion will also have a huge bearing on the contest.
Anand will have his trusted lieutenants in Krishnan Sasikiran, Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Grzegorz Gajewski as his seconds while Carlsen only named two players as his wingmen, saying: "There's the Dane, there's the Hammer, and that's all," with those two being Peter Heine Nielsen and Jon Ludvig Hammer.
"I am in general happy with my chess performance this year," Anand, who booked his place in this World Chess Championship title rematch thanks to a win in the Candidates tournament earlier this year, said in an interview to NIIT. "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 12 games will be played in the classical time control, which means two hours for the first 40 moves, followed by one hour for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes (plus 30 seconds) per move for the rest of the game until there is a conclusion.
Where to Watch Live
Game 1 of this intriguing World Chess Championship 2014 in Sochi is scheduled for a 3 pm local time (5.30 pm IST, 1 pm CET) start. Game 1 of this best of 12 match can be watched via free live streaming online on the FIDE World Chess Championship 2014 Sochi Website or Sochi FIDE 2014.