Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand had another below-par day with a couple of draws and a defeat, finishing ninth spot in the rapid section of St. Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament that concluded on Tuesday. Also Read - Viswanathan Anand Set to Return Home After Being Stuck in Germany For Over Three Months Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
While the rapid section is not conclusive final standing in the tournament, Anand now faces a daunting task as he has a huge ground to cover in the Blitz section that will have eighteen games in all with one point awarded for each victory. Also Read - Chess Keeps Ticking, Moves Online Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Hikaru Nakamura of the United States and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan overtook overnight leader Fabiano Caruana of United States to emerge joint leaders on 12 points after the nine-round rapid section. Also Read - In Chess, You Don’t Beat The Board, You Beat The Player: Viswanathan Anand
With two points for a win guaranteed in rapid games, both Nakamura and Mamedyarov won two games on the final day besides a draw while Caruana could only get two draws that relegated him to the second spot.
Caruana ended on 11 points, a couple of points ahead of Sergey Karjakin of Russia, Levon Aronian of Armenia and Leinier Dominguez Perez of Cuba, who all had nine points apiece.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Wesley So of United States share the seventh spot on eight points while Anand and Alexander Grischuk of Russia are now at the bottom with just six points.
If he needs a big comeback, Anand might need to score at least 12-13 points in the blitz event and the past indicates that the Indian ace is very capable of that.
The blitz event will be spread over two days with nine rounds played on either days and the start again will be crucial for Anand.
The day started with a draw for Anand against Grischuk and then against Caruana butMamedyarov proved superior to Anand in the final round of rapid.
Caruana could not believe his luck as he left a rook up for grabs in the first game of the day against Dominguez and the last two games were meant for recovery thereafter.
Mamedyarov and Nakamura were obvious pick of the day with the former being a little lucky in escaping against Dominguez.
Standings after rapid section: 1-2. Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) 12 each; 3. Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 11); 4-6. Levon Aronian (Arm), Sergey Karjakin (Rus), Leinier Dominguez Perez (Cub) 9 each; 7-8. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra), Wesley So (Usa) 8 each; 9-10. V Anand (Ind), Alexander Grischuk (Rus) 6 each.