Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz: Viswanathan Anand will look to find form with good performance in tournament

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand will be looking for a comeback in the Grand Chess Tour series of events, as he is participating in the Saint Louis Blitz & Rapid followed by the Sinquefield Cup at Saint Louis, Missouri, USA starting from the 11 August 2018.

Viswanathan Anand at the opening ceremony of the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz chess tournament. Image Courtesy: V Sarvanan

Viswanathan Anand at the opening ceremony of the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz chess tournament. Image Courtesy: V Sarvanan

So far, Anand has not showed great form in the multi-event Grand-Prix style tour, which started with similar Rapid & Blitz events in Leuven, Belgium and Paris, France during June 2018. Among the total of nine competitors, Anand occupies the seventh position with a combined total of eight points, way below the tour leader Wesley So (USA) with 21 points, closely followed by Hikaru Nakamura (USA) on 20 points and Sergey Karjakin (Russia) on 19 points. Apart from other stalwarts in Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk, the event also features the wild card entry, Cuban Leinier Dominguez.

The series has been structured to select four players at the end of the Sinquefield Cup, who will appear in the grand finale of the event in London during December 2018. However, Anand still keeps hopes alive aiming for improved performances in the Saint Louis, especially in the Sinquefield Cup where the points system is enhanced, being the only event with classical time control compared to the faster time control in the other events.

Anand’s fans will also keep their hope in his ability to shine at the faster time controls, being the reigning world champion in Rapid Chess by winning the coveted event at Riyadh, Saudia Arbia in Dec 2017 and being winner of the Rapid section of the Tal Memorial tournament during May 2018.

The Rapid event will be a 25 minutes each game with an additional 10 seconds delay per move, with a win being awarded 2 points and 1 for a draw. The Blitz event will be a five-minute each game with an additional three second delay per move, with one point for a win and half a point for a draw. The combined standing will be decided by the cumulative points scored from both the events.

The events at Saint Louis are held mainly due to the generosity of Rex Sinquefield, the retired billionaire who made his fortune being a pioneer of first index funds in the 1970s. He has singlehandedly turned Saint Louis into one of the best cities for chess all over the world, and hailed as the godfather of chess in the USA. His enthusiasm to promote chess for over a decade has resulted in the USA slowly becoming a powerhouse in world chess, billed as the top seeds at the Chess Olympiad to be at Batumi, Georgia in September 2018. He has also been instrumental in nurturing a challenger to the world throne in Fabiano Caruana, who will be the first ever American to fight for the world title after the legendary Bobby Fischer in 1972. Incidentally, Caruana lives in the city too and his home is just two blocks away from the Saint Louis chess club.

First Round pairings:

Karjakin vs Aronian
Dominquez vs Vachier-lagrave
Anand vs Nakamura
So vs Mamadyarov
Grischuk vs Caruana

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Updated Date: Aug 12, 2018 16:15:41 IST

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