Anand to meet Ponomariov in Tata Steel opener

By Our Chess Correspondent

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands), Jan 15 (PTI) WorldChampion Viswanathan Anand has drawn former champion RuslanPonomariov of Ukraine in his opening round in group Acompetition of the 73rd Tata Steel chess tournament here.

It seems like a good draw for Anand even though he willget seven blacks and six whites in the 14-players round robintournament hitting category-20.

Amongst the hot contenders for the title, Anand will getwhite against Russian duo of Vladimir Kramnik and AlexanderGrishchuk and will also play with the favourable colouragainst Levon Aronian of Armenia.

On the flip side, against world number one Magnus Carlsenof Norway, the World Champion will play as black.

The first super tournament of the year has garnered a topfield barring Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Anand, Carlsen,Kramnik and Aronian are main title contenders.

The challenge can come from Grischuk and Alexei Shirov ofSpain who both have it in them to beat the best while theyoung crop headed by Hikaru Nakamura of United States canalways prove to be dangerous for the bigwigs.

Anand drew number 14 in the drawing of lots during theopening ceremony. The Indian ace will be looking forward to abetter finish than Carlsen and Aronian which would help himreclaim the top ranking in the rating list.

Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly will make his debut inthe group ''B''. The Indian will have a tough field to negotiatewhere he is seeded ninth in the category-17 event.

In the first round Ganguly meets Gabriel Sargissian ofArmenia. Another Indian making debut is International Masterand former National Champion Tania Sachdev, who will open hercampaign in the group ''C''.

In the first round, Tania has a tough opponent in secondseed Grandmaster Ivan Ivanisevic.

The Tata Steel tournament was formerly known as Corustournament and the new name has been given this following thetakeover of Corus Steel by the Indian Company.

The event will be played under Classical Chess rules with100 minutes to each player for the first 40 moves, 50 minutesfor the next 20 and thereafter sudden-death of 15 minutes eachwill be applicable. There are three rest days in all.

Pairings round 1: ''A'' group: Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukr) v/sV Anand (Ind); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) v/s Levon Aronian (Arm);Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) v/s Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); MaximeVachier Lagrave v/s Wang Hao (Chn); Jan Smeets (Ned) v/sAlexei Shirov (Esp); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa) v/s AlexanderGrischuk (Rus); Erwin L�Ami (Ned) v/s Anish Giri (Ned). PTICorr AT

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