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Anand upbeat about India’s chances in Olympiad

Top draw:Viswanathan Anand will be the star attraction in the Tata Steel tournament in November.AP

Top draw:Viswanathan Anand will be the star attraction in the Tata Steel tournament in November.AP  

Former World chess champion Viswanathan Anand is set to play a tournament in India after more than two decades.

The World No. 10 will be one of the top draws in the Tata Steel Chess India rapid and blitz tournament, featuring 11 top-ranked players, to be held here from November 9 to 14.

Top-10 players

The $40,000 prize-money tournament will feature four top-10 players — Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (World No. 3, Azerbaijan), GM Levon Aronian (No. 6, Armenia) and Wesley So (No. 9, USA) — apart from Hikaru Nakamura (No. 14, USA) and Sergey Karjakin (No. 15, Russia). The other Indians set to take part are P. Harikrishna (No. 19), Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (No. 37), Surya Sekhar Ganguly (No. 161), Nihal Sarin and R. Praggnanandhaa.

Excited

Having resided and played tournaments abroad, to supplement his high rating all these years, the five-time World Champion said he felt very excited at playing a tournament at home.

Anand, the reigning World rapid champion, said the tournament could “revitalise” chess in the country by giving fans an opportunity to see some of the best players from up close.

Anand, rejoining the Indian team in the Olympiad after 12 years, said he felt confident about his compatriots putting up a good show.

“I am confident our team will have a very good atmosphere as generally we get along very well together. Even in the camps we have a very good time,” he said about the country’s prospects.

Asked about his fluctuating form, Anand said, “Generally these days my form wobbles a lot more. I have seen it happening to many players.

“No one is able to keep a kind of stability going on forever. So I am not particularly concerned. You play when you play well, you cannot give your best everywhere.”

Reflecting on the upcoming World Championship duel between the champion Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana in London, Anand said he expected a close fight.

“It is the closest World Championship match in terms of rating. It is a fact that Fabiano has been winning a lot, which means that Carlsen’s confidence about the inevitability of the result is not what it used to be. Nothing is assured any more, he has to fight,” said Anand.

“For me, neither of them could feel sure of anything. The match could turn any moment and that makes it interesting to follow,” he added.

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