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Anand bids to regain world chess title


Mexico City : World no.1 Viswanathan Anand of India will try to regain the $1.3 million World Chess Championship when eight stalwarts lock horns here from Thursday.

Anand, who won the title in Tehran in 2000, will compete with the likes of Russians world no. 3 Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Morozevich in what is being touted as the strongest ever tornament held in the sport’s history.

Former world champion Garry Kasparov of Russia in a recent interview had termed Anand as the favourite for the title.

The draw for the championship, which will be played on a double round-robin format at the Sheraton Centro Histórico Hotel, is yet to be announced. The first four rounds will be played from Thursday to Sunday.

The first of the three rest days will be Sep 17 while the 14th and final round is scheduled for Sep 29. Sep 30 has been kept in case a tiebreak is required as well as for the closing ceremony.

Anand starts with the highest elo rating of 2792 and with Kramnik at 2769, the competition is expected to be intense.

Anand was one of the four players who qualified directly for the competition together with Kramnik, Peter Svidler of Russia and Morozevich.

After arriving in Mexico, Anand came directly to the playing hall, as he is no.1 in the FIDE rating list.

Lev Aronian of Armenia needed to go through tough qualifications in Elista this year. He beat Magnus Carlsen of Norway on his way to the final.

The other three who qualified were Peter Lekoof of Hungary, Boris Gelfand of Israel and Russian Alexander Grischuk.

Several players arrived as much as a week ago to acclimatise themselves to local conditions in Mexico, which is located at an altitude of 2,240 metres.

Also, the time difference between most players’ home countries and Mexico is huge. For instance, the time difference between Mexico and India is 11 and half hours.

The competitors:

Vishwanathan Anand (India), 2792, 1969
Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), 2769, 1975
Alexander Morozevich (Russia), 2758, 1977
Peter Leko (Hungary), 2751, 1979
Levon Aronian (Armenia), 2750, 1982
Peter Svidler (Russia), 2735, 1976
Boris Gelfand (Israel), 2733, 1968
Alexander Grischuk (Russia), 2726, 1983

(Read as: Players’ names, elo rating and year of birth)