Wijk Aan Zee: Back with a bang, world champion Viswanathan Anand will be up against world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway in a much-awaited fifth-round clash of the Tata Steel Chess tournament here.
After enduring some indifferent form and results in the second half of 2012, Anand has finally shown his true mettle at his favourite hunting ground. The five-time winner here is gunning for a sixth title and he has had a fantastic start.
The fourth-round victory over Levon Aronian must have been a great confidence booster for Anand as the Armenian has been his nemesis for a long time.
Already in the first month of the year, the battle was dubbed as the game of the year and also the game of the decade by some.
A fine opening preparation well compiled with required aggression led to a finish which had the spectators awestruck. Such games were usually played only 100 years back.
Prior to the win against Aronian, Anand had warmed up with a technical demolition of fast-improving Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the third round after two draws. From a seemingly harmless position, the Indian ace simply outclassed his younger opponent.
With three points from four games Anand is sharing the lead with Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin of Russia. These three are now separated from the pursuers by a full point and the list includes P Harikrishna who is making his debut in the premier section.
Many had believed Harikrishna to be a pushover but the Hyderabad-based has proved them all wrong. With an excellent victory against Anish Giri of Holland in the opener, Harikrishna announced his arrival and after that a missed chance again Fabiano did not spoil his mood.
The loss against Carlsen in the previous round, however, could have been a dampener but the Indian fought very well before conceding the point.