SPORT

World Rapid tourney from today

CAP D'AGDE (France) Oct. 22. World No. 3 ranked chess star Viswanathan Anand plays in the World Rapid chess championship at Cap d'Agde in France from Thursday.

The world's leading players sans the 2001 world rapid chess winner Garry Kasparov are competing in this premier rapid chess tournament.

World classical champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and former world champion Viswanathan Anand will start the event as joint favourites heading rival groups.

The format for the week-long event will be two groups of eight players playing a round robin tournament with 25 minutes plus 10 seconds increment a move per game. The top four from each group will advance to the knock out quarterfinals. In case of a tie in the knock-outs, tie-breaking games of three minutes and three seconds increment will decide the winner. There is a lot in store for the French spectators.

Later, from October 31, he will defend his title at the Corsica Masters in Bastia. Anand is a three-time winner of this tournament and will look for his fourth straight title there. India's second best player ever and world No.24 ranked, Krishnan Sasikiran who had a poor run at Denmark last week will play in the Corsica Masters for the first time. Recovering from five successive defeats should be a job on hand for Sasikiran.

Anand, the FIDE world champion in 2000 has had tremendous successes in rapid chess. His last engagement was a 5-3 triumph against Judit Polgar of Hungary at Mainz in Germany this August. It was also rapid chess. His previous face off in France was a big victory in the Amber Tournament at Roquebrune (near Monte Carlo) in France this past March.

Both groups are evenly distributed in strength. Each game is going to be important in deciding the four qualifiers from each group. French players, young hope, Bacrot and the seasoned former world junior champion Lautier are pitted in rival groups but playing under home conditions are not going to be easy meet. The line-up is the strongest the organisers could muster. In the 2001 edition at Cannes, there was the Amber Tournament in progress at Monte Carlo at the same time and the strength was therefore divided.

Group A: Vladimir Kramnik (Rus), Evgeny Bareev (Rus), Veselin Topalov (Bul), Michael Adams (Eng), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr), Boris Gelfand (Isr), Zurab Azmaiparashvili (Geo), Etienne Bacrot (Fra).

Group B: Viswanathan Anand (Ind), Alexei Shirov (Esp), Alexander Grischuk (Rus), Peter Svidler (Rus), Judit Polgar (Hun), Peter Leko (Hun), Anatoly Karpov (Rus), Joel Lautier (Fra).

Recommended for you