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Viswanathan Anand starts badly in St. Louis Rapid

The Indian ace was pegged back by an opening round loss against Hikaru Nakamura of United States and then suffered another debacle against Levon Aronian of Armenia in the third round.

Reported by: PTI, St. Louis [ Published on: August 15, 2017 18:58 IST ]
St.Louis
Viswanathan Anand during a qualifier round.Photo:GETTY IMAGES

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand failed to change gears and suffered two losses on the opening day of St. Louis Rapid and Blitz chess tournament, a part of the Grand Chess Tour. 

Having done brilliantly for a joint second place in the just-concluded Sinquefield Cup at the same venue, Anand needed a change of guard for the faster version of the game. 

The Indian ace was pegged back by an opening round loss against Hikaru Nakamura of United States and then suffered another debacle against Levon Aronian of Armenia in the third round. 

The second round had ended in a draw for Anand against Lenier Dominguez of Cuba. 

Anand could muster just one point under the rules from three games here and will have to come back much stronger in the remaining six rounds of this USD 150000 prize money tournament. 

A win in rapid is worth two points here while a draw fetches half a point. In the blitz, however, a standard one point will be awarded for a win and half for a draw. 

After the end of the first day and three rounds, Fabiano Caruana of United States, Le Quang Leim of Vietnam, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia and Aronian emerged as co leaders on four points each. 

However, the highlight of the day was legendary Russian Garry Kasparov's come back to the competitive fold after a gap of 12 years. It was shortly after the last game of Linares 2005 when the Russian, the strongest ever player on the planet then, decided to hang his boots. 

The comeback announcement had already invoked massive enthusiasm in the fans and players alike and when he sat down to play his first move, it was incidentally with the other Russian Sergey Karjakin. 

The game ended in a draw. Kasparov troubled his former small-time protege Hikaru Nakamura before taking another draw. In the third game of the day too, Kasparov was held to a draw by Dominguez but said he was extremely satisfied on day one of his return. 

With four leaders on four, Kasparov, Dominguez, Nakamura and Karjakin have an identical three points for a shared fifth spot. Anand and David Navara of Czech Republic are currently at the bottom having one point each. 

The second day will see Anand clashing with Kasparov, which will revive more than 25 years of rivalry. 

Standings after round 3: 1-4: Levon Aronian (Arm), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus), Le Quang Leim (Vie), Fabiano Caruana (USA) 4 each; 5-8: Garry Kasparov, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Sergey Karjakin (All Russia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 3 each; 9-10: V Anand (Ind), David Navara (Cze) 1 each.

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