Anand to meet Giri in Tal Memorial opener

Viswanathan Anand will have to negotiate five black games out of a possible nine as he did not get the desired result in the preceding blitz tournament and finished seventh among 10 participants.

viswanathan anand, Tal Memorial

Viswanathan Anand is seeded third for the Tal Memorial chess tournament that gets underway in Moscow.   -  M. Vedhan

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand is all set to take on Anish Giri of Holland in the first round of Tal Memorial Chess tournament here.

Coming back to competitive chess after a brief hiatus following the Sinquefield Cup, the Indian will have to negotiate five black games out of a possible nine as he did not get the desired result in the preceding blitz tournament and finished seventh among 10 participants.

Seeded third in the event, Anand is only behind Vladikir Kramnik of Russia and Levon Aronian of Armenia in rating and the evenly matched field calls for an interesting contest over the next 12 days.

The 10-player round-robin event will have nine rounds in all and the players will fight it out for a total prize pool of USD 200,000.

The blitz tournament, which decided the draw of lots, was dominated by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan who crashed through a challenging field with a very impressive 7.5 points out of a possible nine.

Winning six and drawing nine games, Mamedyarov finished a whopping two points ahead of Aronian.

Russian duo of Peter Svidler and Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Anish Giri also made the cut finishing on top half on five points apiece and made sure they get an extra white.

Kramnik, who arrived late due to flight delays, finished sixth on 4.5, while Anand was sole seventh with 3.5 points in all.

It was a three-way tie for the eighth spot and Li Chao of China, Evgeny Tomashevsky of Russia and Boris Gelfand of Israel finished 8-10 respectively.

Mamedyarov chose number five to select Li Chao as his opponent in the opener; Svidler will take on Kramnik, Nepomniachtchi and Tomashevsky will clash in another all-Russian duel, while Aronian has set up his game against Gelfand.

Anand was not his usual self in the blitz and ended up drawing seven and losing two games. The losses came against Giri and Li Chao.

However, it’s a decent draw for Anand as he will play as white against Mamedyarov, Gelfand, Svidler and Aronian.