Anand 2nd in Tal memorial blitz; meets Caruana in main event
Moscow: World champion Viswanathan Anand got off to a good start in his Tal memorial campaign by finishing second in the blitz tournament here.
Remaining undefeated, Anand scored 6.5 points in the ten-player round-robin event and stood clear second.
Hikaru Nakamura of United States won the tournament comprehensively scoring seven points in all and the American was other player besides Anand, who remained undefeated in the 15000 Euros prize money event.
Anand ensured he would get five whites out of nine rounds and the Indian ace will meet Fabiano Caruana of Italy who recently overtook him in live ratings.
The drawing of lots was done after the blitz tournament, and according to standings in blitz, the players were asked to choose their numbers.
Nakamura had the first choice and he chose white while Anand opted for `two` as his number. Russian Vladimir Kramnik came in next and surprisingly chose number seven which means he was ready to play with five blacks - considered a slight disadvantage in top level chess.
Kramnik explained his decision after the ceremony citing the tiebreak rules that hugely favour the number of black games played in the tournament.
World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway did not have a good time in blitz but he would be hoping to take out his vengeance against an elite field in one of the toughest tournaments ever in terms of average ratings.
Top-seed Carlsen will play with Kramnik in the opener. The tournament is a fine mix with Dimitry Andreikin, Alexander Morozevich, Sergey Karjaki and Kramnik filling the Russian vacancies. Shakhriyayr Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and Boris Gelfand of Israel complete the ten-player line up.
While most elite chess tournaments only have thick appearance fee cheques largely there is a 100000 Euros prize money at stake, with 30000 Euros reserved for the winner.
The tournament will be played under Classical time control with 100 minutes for 40 moves, 50 for the next 20 and then 15 minutes sudden death with 30 seconds increment from move one.
For Anand the biggest game will be against Carlsen in round five which will be the last clash between the two ahead of the next World championship scheduled in Chennai in November this year.
Before that, the World Champion will be hoping for a good start with white against Caruana.
Pairings round 1: V Anand (Ind) v Fabiano Caruana (Ita); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) v Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa) v Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze); Boris Gelfand (Isr) v Sergey Karjakin (Rus); Dmitry Andreikin (Rus) v Alexander Morozevich (Rus)
Blitz standings: 1. Nakamura 7; 2. Anand 6.5; 3. Kramnik 5.5; 4-5. Carlsen, Gelfand 4.5 each; 6-7. Mamedyarov, Andreikin 4 each; 8. Karjakin 3.5; 9. Morozevich 3; 10. Caruana 2.5.
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