Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand will be back on familiar terrain when he takes on elite opposition in the Zurich Chess Challenge that gets underway on Friday.
After a forgettable outing in the just-concluded Gibraltar International, Anand will be back in action to take on Hikaru Nakamura of United States, Levon Aronian of Armenia, Anish Giri of Holland, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and old rival Alexei Shirov of Latvia.
Having dominated this event last year, except for the final tie-break game against overall winner Nakamura, Anand will hope for an encore here and will try to put the memories of Gibraltar behind him.
It may be recalled that the Indian ace went out of the top 10 in world rankings for the first time in 25 years after a below-par show in Gibraltar.
Anand is known to make comebacks and the most exceptional was his victory at the last Candidates’ tournament in 2013.
Ahead of the Candidates tournament at Moscow in less than a month’s time, this event will serve as a prelude with as many as four candidates in the fray out of eight.
Nakamura, Aronian, Giri are the other players who will also feature in the Candidates and an improved performance will give Anand a necessary boost for the big challenge.
The time control has taken a big shift as the classical format this year will be played with just 40 minutes on the clock with 10 seconds edition for each player.