Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand starts as one of the favourites but faces a tough…
B Shrikant, Mumbai: After a month’s break, Viswanathan Anand will return to the international chess circuit for
the 10th Tal Memorial in Moscow. He will be hoping to gain more rating points as he continues his quest to get back into the top five of the Fide world chess rankings.
The Grandmaster from Chennai, who last played in the Sinquefield Cup 2016 in August, has participated in only three of the 10 editions of the Tal Memorial, a fifth place being his best finish. It is among the few top-level tournaments Anand has never won and he would be hoping to set the record straight. The first round will be played on Monday and the final is on October 6.
The tournament is organised in honour of Mikhail Tal, the eighth world champion and considered the best attacking player of all time. Anand is among the contenders in the 10-player field that includes former world champion Vladimir Kramnik. Others in the fray are Levon Aronian (Armenia), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Peter Svidler (Russia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Li Chao (China), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia) and Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia).
The classical tournament will be preceded by a blitz tournament, a T20 version of chess, in which players get around five minutes each to complete the game.
Anand, who is on an upswing, has had a mixed season thus far. He started the year on a disastrous note, losing 21 rating points in the Gibraltar Open, his first open tournament in 23 years. He recovered well in Zurich where he tied for the first position with Hikaru Nakamura, and finished joint second with Fabiano Caruana in the World Chess Challengers in Moscow, half a point behind eventual winner Sergey Karjakin.
His only title of the year came in the Leon Chess Masters Rapid Tournament.