Anand set for year’s strongest GM tourney

The field consists of the top -10 stars in the world and the tournament will see an assembly of the strongest chess players this year.

Anand, who at 47 continues to be the No. 1 Indian and stays as one of the most dangerous players in the world, is the oldest player in the field.   -  Getty Images

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand is all set to battle it out in his first classical chess competition of the year at the Altibox Norway Chess tournament.

The field, which when finalised in February had the then top -10 stars in the world, still makes for the strongest chess players of the world ever to assemble in this year.

Since the time the field was finalised, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Deng Liren have entered the top -10 at the expense of Sergey Karjakin and Anish Giri.

The average rating is 2797. There are four 2800+ players, three world champions and basically not a single player who doesn’t stand a chance to win this one.

Anand, who at 47 continues to be the No. 1 Indian and stays as one of the most dangerous players in the world, is ranked No. 7 in the field at 2786. Born in 1969, Anand is the oldest player in the field.

The youngest is Anish Giri at 23 in the field, which will be led by World champion Magnus Carlsen (2832).

Anand has a huge fan following in Norway after his World Championships matches against Carlsen and this is the third time he will be playing the Norway Chess tournament. In the last few months, Anand has not played classical chess and is not playing in the FIDE Grand Prix series. It seems that he is aiming to qualify for the candidate tournament via the World Cup this year. Anand played in the Korchnoi Zurich Chess Challenge in April and finished third behind winner Nakamura and Nepomniacthchi.

The tournament starts with blitz chess late on Monday and the first round of the classic part of the tournament is scheduled on Tuesday and Friday will be the first rest day. The tournament concludes with its ninth round on June 16. The final three rounds will be held in Stavanger Concert Hall.

The blitz part is played over nine rounds with a time control of three minutes plus two seconds increment for each move. In addition to a minor prize fund, the winner of the blitz tournament gets to choose his number in the main tournament, number 2 going next and so on.

Interestingly, the event will also see the application of the Sofia rule to prevent too many quick and boring draws.

The main event is also played as round-robin event over nine rounds. The time control is 100 min for 40 moves plus 50 min for 20 moves, and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.

In case of a tie for first, there will be a blitz play-off to decide a winner, a match of two blitz games (same time control as the blitz tournament). If it is still tied, there will be an Armageddon game.

The field with country and ratings is: Magnus Carlsen (Nor—2832); Wesley So (US—2812); Vladimir Krmanik (Rus—2808); Fabiano Caruana (US—2808); Maxime Vachier—Lagrave (Fra—2796); Lev Aronian (Arm—2793); Viswanathan Anand (Ind—2786); Sergey Karjakin (Rus—2781) and Anish Giri (Neth—2771).

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