Anand warms up with third place in Norway chess blitz

Viswanathan Anand warmed up for the classical format following a creditable third-place finish behind champion Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura in the Norway chess blitz championship.

Viswanathan Anand scored 5.5 points from nine rounds (file photo).   -  R. Ashok

Viswanathan Anand warmed up for the classical format following a creditable third-place finish behind champion Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura in the Norway chess blitz championship on Sunday.

Anand scored 5.5 points from nine rounds – same as Nakamura – and ended up half a point behind So.

Anand defeated Levon Aronian, Ding Liren and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, lost to Fabiano Caruana and drew the rest, including the one against favourite Magnus Carslen, who finished eighth with 3.5 points.

The event was a prelude to the main event, a 10-player round-robin competition beginning late on Monday. What is clearly one of the strongest events of the year, eight out of the top-10 players – barring Vladimir Kramnik and Anish Giri – are part of this elite field that boasts of an average rating of 2790.

It is difficult to recall when was the last time Anand began an event as the lowest rated player. This is also a reflection on the quality of this field. On the brighter side, Anand will fractionally gain live rating even with a draw.

The field has six players aged between 24 and 28 years, three are in the 30-35 range and Anand remains the oldest at 48. For a few years now, the reigning World rapid champion continues to prove that age is just a number.

World champion and home favourite Carlsen will be looking to erase the horrors of the last edition when he finished ninth.

The field (with country, world ranking and rating):

1. Magnus Carslen (Norway, 1, 2843), 2. Fabiano Caruana USA, 2, 2822), 3. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 3, 2808), 4. Ding Liren (China), 5, 2791), 5. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, 6, 2789), 6. Sergey Karjakin (Russia, 7, 2782), 7. Wesley So (USA, 8, 2778), 8. Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 10, 2769), 9. Levon Aronian (Armenia, 12, 2764), 10. Viswanathan Anand (13, 2760).

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