Anand finishes fifth in blitz event of Norway Chess tournament
Stavanger (Norway): Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand lost to world champion Magnus Carlsen from a winning position to finish fifth in the blitz event that acts as a curtain raiser for the Norway Chess tournament which begins here today.
After starting off with two victories, Anand missed out on a winning opportunity against Norwegian Carlsen and finally ended fifth with 5.5 points out of a possible nine in the blitz event.
Besides being a curtain raiser, the blitz event decides the pairings for the main tournament — which will be played in classical format — and the top half finish for Anand means a lot as he will get to play five white games.
The surprise winner of the blitz event was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France who led from the beginning and defeated Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana of Italy en route to his 6.5 points.
Former world champion Anand will now play against Caruana in the Norway Chess tournament, part of the Grand Chess tour that started here. Anand’s white games are lined up against Caruana, Alexander Grischuk of Russia, Hikaru Nakamura of United States, Levon Aronian of Armenia and Carlsen, which undoubtedly is a very favourable draw.
The Norway Chess tournament also signals the start of the much-awaited Grand Chess tour. With a staggering USD 305000 as prize money, the tournament is the first in a series of three which will have same prize fund and the top three stands to gain another USD 150000 once the series is completed.
The other two events will be played in San Luis in United States and London later this year.
There are nine fixed players for the ‘Grand Tour” and the host-city reserves the right to nominate one player. Besides, Anand, Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana, Nakamura, Grischuk and Aronian, the other two players are Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Anish Giri of Holland. Notable absentee is Vladimir Kramnik of Russia who cited a busy schedule ahead.