World Rapid and Blitz: Viswanathan Anand off to slow start in blitz campaign; P Harikrishna leads way among Indians

Newly-crowned World Rapid Champion Viswanathan Anand won two and drew four in the first six rounds to make a slow start to his campaign at the World Blitz Chess Championship in Riyadh on Friday.

PTI December 29, 2017 23:06:14 IST
World Rapid and Blitz: Viswanathan Anand off to slow start in blitz campaign; P Harikrishna leads way among Indians

Riyadh: Newly-crowned World Rapid Champion Viswanathan Anand won two and drew four in the first six rounds to make a slow start to his campaign at the World Blitz Chess Championship in Riyadh on Friday.

With absolutely no time to relax after a brilliant show that saw him clinch the World Rapid Championship on Thursday, Anand was a bit tentative at the start of the world blitz that is played with just three minutes to each player with a two second increment after every move is made.

World Rapid and Blitz Viswanathan Anand off to slow start in blitz campaign P Harikrishna leads way among Indians

File image of Viswanathan Anand. Image credit: Official website of Grand Chess Tour

As a result, it was a draw with Jhao Jun of China in the opening round, and then Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus proved no match for the Indian in the second round.

Two more draws with Alexander Moiseenko of Ukraine and Nigel Short of England ensued before Anand won fluently against Ivan Salgedo Lopez of Spain.

The game against Lopez was just an indication of Anand's superior form as he held a winning position in just 11 moves with black pieces. The Spaniard had no clue what hit him and it was all over in quick time.

Anand raised visions of another victory when he had a slightly better endgame against Gabrial Sargissian of Armenia, but the latter stood his ground to hold a draw.

With four points out of a possible six, Anand is a full point behind eight leaders on five points apiece and currently shares the 18th spot.

The best Indian performer thus far is P Harikrishna, who bounced back in the event following a loss to compatriot Vidit Gujrathi. With 4.5 points in his kitty, Harikrishna shares the ninth spot currently.

There are 15 more rounds to go in the event.

World Champion Magnus Carlsen, meanwhile, suffered a shocking loss to Sjugirov Sanan of Russia in the second round and is now trying to find his way back to the top.

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