Grand Chess Tour: Anand stays on course for finale

Anand, seventh in the GCT standings before the Bucharest event—sixth of the seven events leading up to the finale—with 24 points from three events, got eight points with Armenia’s Aronian and Russia’s Karjakin taking 11 each.
File image of Viswanathan Anand.(Getty Images)
File image of Viswanathan Anand.(Getty Images)
Published on Nov 11, 2019 09:18 PM IST
Copy Link
MUMBAI | By

A fabulous performance in blitz at the Superbet Rapid and Blitz Romania that ended on Sunday helped India’s Viswanathan Anand finish overall third in the event, behind Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin, to maintain his chances of qualifying for the Grand Chess Tour’s four-player finale to be played in London from December 2-8.

Anand, seventh in the GCT standings before the Bucharest event—sixth of the seven events leading up to the finale—with 24 points from three events, got eight points with Armenia’s Aronian and Russia’s Karjakin taking 11 each. In Romania, Anand finished with 19½ points from 27 games (9 rapid, 18 blitz). Aronian defeated Karjakin in the tie-break to claim the title after both were tied on top with 20 points each.

In GCT, each of the 12 full Tour participants have to play in two classical and three rapid and blitz events. Anand (32 points) lies sixth overall, behind Norway’s classical and blitz world champion Magnus Carlsen (54.5 points), Ding Liren (37.8) of China, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (36.8) of France, Aronian (36.5) and Karjakin (36.5).

India’s five-time world classical champion is eyeing one of the three places up for grabs with only six points separating Ding, Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian, Karjakin and Anand ahead of the final round—Tata Steel Chess India Rapid and Blitz tournament to be played in Kolkata from November 22-26.

What will boost Anand’s chances of qualifying is that Vachier-Lagrave and Karjakin have completed their quota of five events. Carlsen, who gave the Romania event a miss, has a sizeable lead and can add more points in Kolkata. The race is between Ding, Aronian and Anand to bag as many points as possible and push Vachier-Lagrave and Karjakin down the table.

Anand will also be defending his blitz title in the Kolkata event and laid a foundation for that with his Romania performance.

He had reached Bucharest with the sole aim of gaining points to stay on course for the London finale. He did not gain a lot in the rapid section, finishing joint fifth with 4½ points from a possible nine.

He started with a win against wild card Vladislav Artemiev in the opening round but losses Anton Korobov (4th round), Karjakin (8th) and Le Quang Liem (9th) pushed him down despite a win over American Fabiano Caruana (7th). That meant the 49-year-old failed to gain much in the overall GCT standings.

However, in the blitz Anand won six of the 18 games, losing only three. On the last day of the two-day blitz, the Indian played risk-free chess after defeating Caruana, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and Anton Korobov of Ukraine (wild card and winner of the rapid section) in the 10th, 11th and 12th rounds. He drew the remaining six games without exerting much as he seemed to have achieved his main purpose of gaining points and wanted to conserve energy for the battles in Kolkata.

Standings

1. Magnus Carlsen 54.5 pts ($205,000) 2. Ding Liren 37.8 pts ($132,333) 3. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 36.8 pts ($100,000) T4. Levon Aronian 36.5 ($113,750), Sergey Karjakin 36.5 ($99,250) 6. Viswanathan Anand 32 ($90,000) 7. Fabiano Caruana 26.5 ($76,250) 8. Wesley So 26 ($92,500) 9. Ian Nepomniachtchi 24.5 ($58,580) 10. Anish Giri 19 ($49,833) 11. Hikaru Nakamura 17.5 ($50,000) 12. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 16 ($48,750).

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    B Shrikant anchors the Mumbai sports desk. A journalist for more than two decades, he covers hockey, chess, athletics, basketball and volleyball.

Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, January 19, 2022