Tata Steel Chess: Anand-Carlsen race heightens interest

Over the next two rounds the outcome of the games involving these two champions could well prove crucial in the eventual analysis.

Before the final rest day on Thursday, Viswanathan Anand plays consecutive black against Richard Rapport and Magnus Carlsen, who has won three of the last four rounds. (FILE IMAGE)   -  The Hindu

With Viswanathan Anand matching the steps of Magnus Carlsen, the title-race in the Tata Steel Masters chess tournament has gained an added interest.

Over the next two rounds, after Monday’s rest day, the outcome of the games involving these two champions could well prove crucial in the eventual analysis.

Before the final rest day on Thursday, Anand plays consecutive black against Richard Rapport and Carlsen, who has won three of the last four rounds. Nevertheless Anand, following his back-to-back triumphs over Vladimir Kramnik and World No. 3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, should be
considered a worthy contender.

READ: Tata Steel Chess: Second straight win keeps Anand ahead with Carlsen

Interestingly, in the remaining five rounds, Anand and Carlsen play three blacks and two whites. In fact, when the two clash in the 10th round, the action will shift for a day to Leiden, around 52 kilometres from here.

Vidit Gujarati, the other Indian in the fray, faces Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi and off-form Vladimir Kramnik over the next two days.

Nepomniachtchi, Anish Giri and Ding Liren, all just half-a-point behind the leaders, have reasons to be optimistic of their prospects.

In the Challengers section, R. Praggnanandhaa is getting the taste of how tough the competition is at a higher level. After 3.5 points from eight rounds, the youngster is looking to improve from the current 11th position after playing successive games with white pieces against
Anton Korobov and Maksim Chigaev.

Ninth-round pairings: Richard Rapport (Hun, 3) v Viswanathan Anand (5.5); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 5) v Vidit  Gujarati (4); Samuel Shankland (USA, 3.5) v Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5.5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2) v Ding Liren (Chn, 5); Anish Giri (Ned, 5) v Jorden van
Foreest (Ned, 2.5); Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 4.5) v Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 3.5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3) v Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 4).