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A new challenge for Anand

PTI
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Zurich Challenge boasts astrong field of six players

photo: AFP
photo: AFP

Indian chess ace Viswanathan Anand will find himself in the unfamiliar position of starting as the lowest-ranked player when he takes on a tough field in his first Classical tournament since losing the world title, in the Zurich Challenge here at the Savoy.

The small event, having just five rounds between six players, boasts of a very strong field led by reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, who is playing his first tournament since clinching the champion’s tag from Anand.

For Anand it will be a new challenge and one can expect him to play at his best having got a good rest. For the upcoming candidates tournament too, this could prove to be a good warm-up.

World number two Levon Aronian of Armenia, Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Hikaru Nakamura of United States and former world championship challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel complete the lineup of what is the highest category tournament ever in the history of the game.

This will be the first time when Anand starts a tournament as the lowest ranked player with his world ranking slipping to number nine. According to the January list, Nakamura is third, Caruana is fourth and Gelfand is just a shade ahead of Anand at eight.

Carlsen’s return to the board might not sound alarming to his competitors but the form he displayed in the match against Anand makes him a huge favourite for the title here. The draw of lots will be done through a blitz tournament and the event will complete with a rapid event.PTI


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