CHENNAI: V Anand vs Magnus Carlsen, Act 3 of 2010 will enacted on the London Chess Classic stage from Wednesday.
The Indian world champion starts as the top seed in this event, his third classical tournament after his World Championship victory over Veselin Topalov in May; it will also be the third time Anand and Carlsen ( Norway) will be playing in a field together this year after the Bilbao Masters and Nanjing Pearl Spring.
Undoubtedly, the focus will be on the two superstars who will be trying hard to welcome the New Year as No. 1 in the world.
Anand (2804 points) is out to retain his position by virtue of his two-point lead on the Elo scale and Carlsen is eager to further his Nanjing success, which should spur him against his Indian friend.
In terms of strength, London 2010 is inferior to both Nanjing and Bilbao as it just touches an average rating of 2725, marginally short of a category 20 tournament (average 2726). But to its credit, the Chess Classic has not limited its field for the sake of a higher category alone.
London 2010 will not be a double round-robin like the other two big events as it features four players in the 2600-plus bracket too. Obviously, the English Grandmasters had to be included and in the process the eight-player all-play-all tournament got diluted. Nevertheless, the event has been hyped up as it is the only tournament that Anand had confirmed soon after he became World champion.
In fact, Anand is the only addition to the field that contested the London Chess Classic in 2009. The Indian faces a stern test from Carlsen, who won ahead of him in Nanjing, and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia (2791) who had an outstanding performance in Bilbao . American Hikaru Nakamura (2741) is the fourth-ranked player in the field followed by the English GMs.
Curiously, Anand and Nakamura will be celebrating their birthdays during the tournament (December 11 and 9 respectively).
Viswanathan Anand (Ind) 2804, Magnus Carlsen (Norway) 2802, Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) 2791, Hikaru Nakamura (US) 2741, Michael Adams (Eng) 2723, Nigel Short (Eng) 2680, Luke McShane (Eng) 2645, Dadid Howell (Eng) 2611.