Bilbao (Spain): Lacklustre so far in the top tournament, world champion Viswanathan Anand would look to regain his touch and storm back into reckoning for title when he takes on world number one Magnus Carlsen in the first round of the second leg of fourth Final Masters.
Anand is lying third in the points table on six points, along with Levon Aronian of Armenia and Norwegian Carlsen in the six-player double round-robin event which recommences after a five-day break.
With five rounds to be played at Bilbao in the category-22 super tournament, Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk leads the pack on 10 points, followed by American Hikaru Nakamura on seven points.
Francisco Vallejo Pons of Spain has three points in his bag and stands at the bottom of the standings.
"There are five more rounds to go and so it`s difficult to make a prognosis, especially taking into account the system of the Bilbao rule. So everything is still uncertain and I think there will be a big fight until the end," said Anand at the opening ceremony of the second leg.
After an unexciting draw with Carlsen in the tournament opener at Sao Paulo in Brazil, Anand went down to Ivanchuk in the third round and won against Pons in the next besides two other draws. Given the tournament situation, Anand has a lot to catch up.
Carlsen sounded confident after his win against Ivanchuk in the previous round.
"Truthfully I`m not at all concerned with who will win the tournament, really. I`m just trying to do my best and try to win it myself. That`s about all I can say. Of course now Ivanchuk is in the lead but anything can happen," he said.
"And I think especially in situations like this the Bilbao scoring system with three points for a win and one for a draw is interesting, because it makes the tournament more dynamic and it`s easier to catch up from a deficit," said Carlsen.
Meanwhile, Ivanchuk has been in the news throughout the tournament. Firstly, for his terrific form and play that gave him victories over Anand, Pons and Aronian.
Secondly, for a surprise loss against Carlsen as white in what was the final round of the first leg. And finally, for the tragic robbery-at-gun-point in which the Ukrainian star lost valuable belongings and his wife`s passport.
Despite the last round debacle against Carlsen, Ivanchuk is still sitting pretty in the tournament with a three-point lead in the soccer-like scoring system that gives three points for a win and one for a draw.
Round Six Pairings: Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 6) vs V Anand (Ind, 6); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 10) vs Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 7); Francisco Vallejo Pons (Esp, 3) vs Levon Aronian (Arm, 6).
It has been a very tough decision for me to make which is why I have given it so much thought since the World Cup.