Big test awaits Viswanathan Anand at Norway super chess tournament
If recent records are anything to go by, Indian chess ace Viswanathan Anand is likely to stage a comeback of sorts.Updated: May 27, 2018 17:48 IST
Desperate to reclaim a place in the top ten, world rapid champion Viswanathan Anand would target a podium finish in a tough field at the Altibox Norway super tournament, beginning here.
If recent records are anything to go by, Anand is likely to stage a comeback of sorts. It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for the Indian in the last year or so but he has risen back to where he belonged every single time.
Anand is coming here from a Bundesliga game in Germany where he helped his team Baden OS win the title for 12th time in last 13 years.
But the statisticians have a hard job on hand finding out when was the last time Anand started as the lowest seed on rating in any super tournament. It will be a different challenge in a different setting for the multiple-time world champion across formats.
The top eight of the world top ten are part of the field and the other two players in are two biggest names who just dropped out of the top ten – Anand and Levon Aronian of Armenia.
Aronian will also be training his sights for a big comeback after another lacklustre ‘Candidates’ tournament.
The top seed and rating favourite is yet again local hero and world champion Magnus Carlsen and it will be interesting to see if he can live up to his top billing.
Carlsen has been in good form recently, winning the Shamkir tournament but might face stiff challenge from Fabiano Caruana of United States.
The fact that Carlsen and Caruana are set to play a world championship match at the end of the year in London will certainly make their personal encounter a must-watch for the chess buffs.
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Ding Liren of China, Maxiem Vachier-Lagrave of France, Sergey Karjakin of Russia and American duo of Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura complete the ten player line-up leading to a very impressive 2791 average rating.
There will be nine-rounds in all and a couple of rest days are thrown in for good measures. The drawing of colours will be decided in a blitz tournament where in the top five finishers will get an extra white while the last five will get an extra black.
The rise of Ding Liren as an elite player continuous and he has surpassed all his Chinese predecessors in terms of performance. Not only he had qualified for the Candidates and became the first Chinese player to do so, the ever impressive fighter has now risen up to fourth place in the live ranking and is threatening to breach the 2800 rating barrier.
Karjakin is likely to be the most solid among all players while Mamedyarov and Nakamura can spice up any tournament with some unconventional chess.