Indian chess ace Viswanathan Anand believes that the World Chess Championship in Argentina, which will feature the world's best eight players, will be very tough and closely fought.
"Each game will be very closely fought. All of us are at the cutting edge of theory and I am sure you will face top class preparation in each game. I just expect a very tough event," Anand told rediff.com via e-mail.
Anand won the tournament twice, in 2000 and 2001-02, and was runner-up to Russian Anatoly Karpov in 1997-98.
The other seven players who will compete for the sports's top prize are: Uzbekistan's Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Peter Adams of England, Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov, Russians Alexander Morozevich and Peter Svidler, and Hungary's chess sensation and the only female player in the tournament, Judit Polgar.
Anand, who has played these players before, said: "I have played with all the opponents many times over in all kinds of formats. Basically, each player has a style of play and a set of openings that differentiate them. Judit is tactically brilliant, Topalov is aggressive, Leko solid, Morozevich is very varied in his play. Svidler is a very well-prepared player and Adams again has a unique style and knows how to maximise small mistakes very efficiently. Kasimdhzanov is a very dangerous player and is quite fearless."
The 35-year-old feels that in such a star-studded event it is important to win the tournament and not finish runner-up.
"When it is a title race, you know that each person there has illusions of taking home the title. In a normal tournament, maybe it is easier to finish second and feel happy about your play.
"In a title event the runner-up is not the same."
Anand said he worked well on his chess for the tournament, which runs from September 27 to October 16.
"My aim is also to increase my physical stamina and have been doing cardio vascular regimens. Now I will try to relax and get to Argentina well rested and ready to play," said Anand, who won his fourth Chess Oscar in 2005.
Asked what it takes to win such a difficult tournament, he replied: "Perseverance, good preparation and a little luck."