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Sedate start by Anand

Dubai: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand got off to a sedate start with two draws and ended up joint ninth after the end of the fifth round of World Rapid Chess Championship, here.

A couple of draws at the beginning against Ivan Salgado Lopez of Spain and Maxim Matlakov of Russia in the first two rounds for Anand were followed by a couple of victories coming at the expense of his ‘second’ Sandipan Chanda and Russian Vladimir Fedoseev. But another draw in the fifth round with Viktor Laznicka of Czech Republic saw the Indian slump a little in the strongest-ever rapid chess tournament of the world.

Anand, an expert in rapid chess, took some time to adjust to the new rules that gives 15 minutes to both players with a ten second increment guaranteed after every move. It may be recalled that the earlier rapid events used to have 25 minutes to both players with a similar increment.

However, Anand recovered and with ten rounds still to come it seems a certainty that the Indian will be on the prowl for a podium finish.

The tournament sees most of the top players in the world in action including world champion Magnus Carlsen who was apparently irked that he is not the top seed in this variant. “It feels strange not to be No. 1 by rating, it bothers me a bit and I am going to change it,” Carlsen said.

However, the reigning world champion still finds himself on joint fourth spot in the faster version of the game with one third of the event over. Carlsen is on four points, half a point more than Anand, but half a point less than the three leaders — Sergey Karjakin, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana. (PTI)