Fresh from a day-long break after a disappointing fourth-round loss, World champion Viswanathan Anand will take on Russian Alexander Morozevich in the fifth round of the Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament here.
After a racking start that gave him victories with black pieces against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, the Indian ace slipped a bit in the standing list when he lost to Hungarian Leko in the fourth round but the rest day after that should help Anand recover.
With seven rounds still to come in the event that has one blindfold and one rapid game in each round, Levon Aronian of Armenia, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria share the lead with 5 points each in the combined standings and Anand is now sole fourth on 4 points.
In the rapid section, Aronian is at the top with 3 points while Anand shares the joint second spot in this section on 2.5 points along with Topalov, Leko, and Ivanchuk.
It's a four-way lead in the blindfold and Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia are sitting pretty at the top on 2.5 points each. With 2 points from four games here, Anand stands joint fifth.
It will be a test for Anand against Morozevich. In the previous two editions of the Amber tournament Anand has been on the receiving end against the Russian losing 0.5-1.5 on both occasions. The Indian will be looking forward to setting the records right this time especially with Morozevich out of sorts.
In what could be the most interesting encounter of the fifth round, Veselin Topalov will take on Vladimir Kramnik. The last time the duo met was during the Corus chess tournament where Topalov was the winner.
Vassily Ivanchuk celebrated his 39th birthday with a home-cooked queen sacrifice against compatriot Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine and looks in fine fettle to continue with his winning ways.
Interestingly Ivanchuk is the only player who has played in all Amber tournaments ever since they started in 1992. In the important next round, Ivanchuk meets Aronian, who has been devastating in rapid chess so far.
Pairings round 5:
Veselin Topalov (Bul) v/s Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Peter Leko (Hun) v/s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze); Alexander Morozevich (Rus) v/s Viswanathan Anand (Ind); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) v/s Boris Gelfand (Isr); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) v/s Levon Aronian (Arm); Loek Van Wely (Ned) v/s Sergey Karjakin (Ukr);
1-4. Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Kramnik, Topalov 2.5 each; 5-9. Morozevich, Anand, Aronian, Karjakin, Van Wely 2 each; 10-11. Mamedyarov, Leko1.5 each; 12. Gelfand 0.5.
1. Aronian 3; 2-5. Anand, Leko, Topalov, Ivanchuk 2.5 each; 6-7. Gelfand, Mamedyarov 2 each; 8-11. Van Wely, Kramnik, Carlsen, Karjakin 1.5 each; 12. Morozevich 1.
Combined Standings Round 4:
1-3. Topalov, Aronian, Ivanchuk 5 each; 4. Anand 4.5; 5-7. Leko, Carlsen, Kramnik 4 each; 8-10. Van Wely, Mamedyarov, Karjakin 3.5 each; 11-12. Gelfand, Morozevich 3 each.