Past performances are often a poor guide to future events. Witness the recent match for the world chess championship between Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik.
It was not easy to pick a favorite. In 51 previous games, Kramnik had the edge with 6 wins, 4 losses and 41 draws. But Anand won easily. He finished with a 61/2-41/2 margin of victory.
Former world champion Garry Kasparov had a clear explanation for the change in the Anand/Kramnik dynamic: “He (Anand) kicked some sand in Kramnik's face and hit his weakness – his conservative approach to the game itself. Suddenly Kramnik had to fight in these sharp positions and he wasn't able to do it.”
Surprisingly, two of the three Anand wins were with the black pieces. Usually players are content to draw with black, while reserving their winning efforts with white. “I took some risks, it played off handsomely,” explains Anand. He gave Kramnik credit for reviving and pressuring him in the latter part of the match.
Anand expressed his hope that Kasparov would come out of retirement to play him. “It will be very exciting.”