As far as I remember, Anand was(is) primarily an 1.e4 player throughout his career. Yet in the first game of the Carlsen-Anand match he opted to open with 1.d4. What are the potential benefits of such an opening choice in a situation like this? Is Anand simply wary of having to face the Berlin Defense, or is there another benefit to choosing 1.d4?

  • Why the downvote? – MikhailTal Nov 8 '14 at 21:15
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    not the downvoter, but this is the question, which is impossible to answer reliably if you are not Anand. – Salvador Dali Nov 8 '14 at 21:32
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    I didn't downvote, but this is indeed a very subjective question. – Wes Nov 8 '14 at 23:57
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    Leaving aside the subjectivity, there are extremely few top players that consistently choose an opening move over the rest. The first one that comes to mind is Mamedyarov, but nowadays Anand plays 1.e4 as much as 1.d4. – Pablo S. Ocal Nov 9 '14 at 0:34
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    I'm suggesting an edit that might help to make this question less subjective/reliant on Anand's preference by asking instead what the benefits are of choosing 1.d4 instead of 1.e4 at the start of a WC match. – DTR Nov 9 '14 at 10:00

Anand primarily played 1. d4 in each of his 3 successful world championship matches between 2008 and 2012. In his 2013 match vs. Carlsen he favored 1. e4 before switching to 1. d4 for his last white of the match (game 9). Given the disastrous result of the 2013 match for him, I don't think it's surprising that he is apparently relying on 1. d4 this time.

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  • Indeed! For me the question is: Why did Anand open with e4 last year? – Pouya Nov 10 '14 at 12:27

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