Linares: World champion Viswanathan Anand will meet Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan in the eighth round of the Magistral Ciudad de Linares chess tournament here on Sunday.

At the halfway stage of the tournament, Anand is on 3.5 points, having lost two, won two and drawn the remaining three games. The Indian ace will have to put up a better show in order to remain in the hunt for a podium finish.

Mixed bag

For Anand it has been a mixed event thus far wherein the lapse in concentration cost him dearly. Starting with a victory over Radjabov in the opener, Anand lost from a position of strength against Aronian in the second round and even as he came back strongly to beat Chinese Wang Yue, the loss against Carlsen pulled him back.

The problem for Anand in the coming rounds could also be the fact that he has only three white games left besides four with black.

And given the tenacity of all the eight players here, it might be tough going for the Indian stalwart, who is playing his first tournament since winning the World championship match last October.

Grischuk in fine nick

Alexander Grischuk is the surprise leader with five points after the first half of the tournament and the Russian has displayed great grit and determination in all his games.

Grischuk has won three games besides four draws and his unbeaten performance has made him the top contender for the championship.

The stakes are bigger this time as besides the winner’s purse of euro 1,00,000 there is also a berth on offer in the Grand Slam final at Bilbao in Spain later this year for the winner.

With bigger stakes Vassily Ivanchuk and Magnus Carlsen are the two players who are within striking distance of Grischuk on four points each. There is a striking similarity in Ivanchuk and Carlsen’s performance so far in the tournament.

Both are unbeaten and have scored one victory and six draws so far. Both have dislodged a top contender for the championship.

Carlsen defeated Anand while Ivanchuk accounted for Armenian Levon Aronian.

It will be an interesting day after the second rest day in the event as Aronian is set to meet Carlsen. The Armenian is also on 3.5 points like Anand and is eagerly looking for a comeback in the event. Carlsen plays white in this game. — PTI

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