St Louis Chess: Anand finishes ninth in rapid section

The Indian now has a huge ground to cover in the Blitz section to improve his overall standing.

File Photo: Viswanathan Anand drew against Alexander Grischuk and Fabiano Caruana, and lost to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.   -  AP

India’s Viswanathan Anand finished ninth in the rapid section of the St Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament.

To improve his overall standing, Anand now has a huge ground to cover in the Blitz section which will have 18 games in total, with one point awarded for each victory. Spread over two days, nine rounds will be played on either days and the start again will be crucial for Anand.

Caruana slips

Hikaru Nakamura of the U.S. and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan overtook overnight leader Fabiano Caruana of the U.S. to emerge joint leaders on 12 points after the nine-round rapid section. With two points for a win guaranteed in rapid games, both Nakamura and Mamedyarov won two games on the final day besides a draw, while Caruana could only get two draws that relegated him to the second spot.

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Caruana ended on 11 points, a couple of points ahead of Sergey Karjakin of Russia, Levon Aronian of Armenia and Leinier Dominguez Perez of Cuba, all of whom possessed nine points each.

Uphill task

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Wesley So of the U.S. share the seventh spot on eight points while Anand and Alexander Grischuk of Russia are now at the bottom with just six points. If he needs a big comeback, Anand might need to score at least 12-13 points in the blitz event and the past indicates that the Indian ace is very capable of that.

The day started with a draw for Anand against Grischuk and then against Caruana, but Mamedyarov proved superior to Anand in the final round.

Caruana could not believe his luck as he left a rook up for grabs in the first game of the day against Dominguez and the last two games were meant for recovery thereafter. Mamedyarov and Nakamura were the picks of the day, although Mamedyarov was a little lucky in escaping against Dominguez.

Standings after rapid section
  • 1-2. Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) 12 each;
  • 3. Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 11); 4-6. Levon Aronian (Arm), Sergey Karjakin (Rus), Leinier Dominguez Perez (Cub) 9 each;
  • 7-8. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra), Wesley So (Usa) 8 each;
  • 9-10. V Anand (Ind), Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 6 each.