Black and White of Chess

Viswanathan Anand drew comfortably in straight 54 moves against fellow ex-World champion Veselin Topalov in the second round of the World Candidates Chess Tournament at Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. Anand had produced a scintillating display to topple favourite Levon Aronian in the opening round at the same event earlier.

Anand, at 44, is the oldest among the eight Candidates battling to earn the right to challenge World champion Magnus Carlsen later this year. This was Anand’s third career-victory over Aronian and first with white pieces. Anand’s last victory over the World number two came in the elite Tata Steel tournament at Wijk aan Zee, near Amsterdam, in January last year. Since the players were separated by 60 rating points, the victory for Anand was worth 5.8 points and took his live rating to 2775.8. As a result, Anand temporarily moved up a rung, to the seventh spot in the world rankings.

At another part of the world, the World Chess Olympiad Qualifers’s second phase for the World Chess Olympiad will get underway this weekend on 15th -16th March at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kampala. There is a stiff fight for the available slots to make the team. The event features male players with international ratings and the top 20 unrated who qualified from the previous phase. A total of 8 rounds will be played in the male category of the following weekend on 22-23 March 2014. The top 12 will be picked to proceed to the next and last phase due in May. Over this weekend, the ladies will be battling in their final phase featuring the top 12 in a round robin to determine the top 5 to feature on the National team. The event will be graced with the attendance of FIDE Vice President, Ali Nihat Yazici and Africa Chess Union President, Lakhdar Mazoouz.