St. Louis: Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand will have an uphill task at hand when he takes on Dutchman Anish Giri in the sixth round of the USD 300000 prize money tournament here.
After losing the first two games and drawing the next three, Anand is in joint ninth spot in the 10-player round-robin tournament. He is now desperately looking for a turnaround in his performance and fortunes.
Anand started the tournament losing to Hikaru Nakamura of United States and then suffered another defeat at the hands of Russian Alexander Grischuk in the second round.
Thereafter Anand drew the next three with Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, American Fabiano Caruana and French star Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Up against Giri in the next round, Anand will have black pieces but then he will play with Wesley So of United States with white.
Anand's only concern could be against Armenian Levon Aronian in the penultimate round, while he could really turn things around in the final game when he takes on World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway,
Carlsen, meanwhile, has staged a big comeback in the tournament after losing the first round to Topalov. On 3.5 points, the Norwegian shares the podium currently with Aronian and these two are followed by Giri and Topalov with three points each.
With just four games to go, Hikaru Nakamura is also training his sights for a good finish along with Vachier-Lagrave on 2.5 points, while Grischuk and Caruana would be hoping for the same having pocketed two points each.
After a rather sedate start, Carlsen has won three out of his last four games and it all started with a dramatic victory from a lost position against Caruana in the second round.
The world champion is getting better with each round and his demolition of Wesley So in the fourth round was a remarkable effort.
Aronian is showing his true mettle after a long time in elite tournament and he, too, looks determined to make things go his way. The showdown with Carlsen in round six might be decisive for the Armenian who is the only unbeaten player here, besides Anish Giri.
Giri, in fact, is unbeaten in the Grand Chess tour itself and this is already the second event past half-way stage. The tour that started with Norway tournament in June will finish with the last event slated in December at London Chess Classic.
Pairings round 6: Anish Giri (Ned, 3) v V Anand (Ind 1.5); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5) v Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2.5) v Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3); Wesley So (Usa, 1.5) v Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 2.5); Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 2) v Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 2).