Tata Steel Chess: Tough for Anand to bounce back

Currently, Anand shares the third spot with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren at six points, behind leader Carlsen (7) and Anish Giri (6.5).

Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand in action during the 10th round of the Tata Steel Chess tournament.   -  AFP Photo

After Wednesday’s painful defeat to Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand faces a tough task to recover for the business-end of the Tata Steel Chess.

When the players return to the board after Thursday’s rest day, Anand will play white against Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Currently, Anand shares the third spot with Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren at six points, behind leader Carlsen (7) and Anish Giri (6.5).

How Anand recovers from the horrors of a late blunder that led to his resignation after six more moves, after a draw looked almost inevitable for the better part of the 76-move marathon, will be watched with interest. The veteran has done it in the past. How strongly he bounces back over the last three rounds remains to be seen.

At the end of the action-filled 10th round, Vidit Gujarati’s career-best win over Vladimir Kramnik, was unfortunately pushed into the background. The young Indian outplayed the mighty Russian in the opening phase of the Nimzo-Indian game and never eased the pressure. The result was an unprecedented fifth defeat in 10 rounds for a winless Kramnik.

Though Carlsen looks favourite to win the title for the seventh time, the prospects of Anish Giri catching up with the leader in the remaining three rounds cannot be ruled out.

Last year, the duo tied for the title at nine points before Carlsen was adjudged the champion by winning the tie-break blitz games 1.5-0.5.

In the Challengers section, R. Praggnanandhaa (4) will play black against local Lucas van Foreest (4.5).

11th-round pairings: Viswanathan Anand (6) v Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 4.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 4) v Vidit Gujarati (5); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 5) v Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 7); Anish Giri (Ned, 6.5) v Samuel Shankland (USA, 4.5); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 6) v Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 4.5); Richard Rapport (Hun, 4.5) v Ding Liren (Chn, 6); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2.5) v Jorden van Foreest (Ned, 4).