From Our Chess Correspondent
Wijk Aan Zee(The Netherlands), Jan 25 (PTI) World ChampionViswanathan Anand will take on Hikaru Nakamura of UnitedStates in the ninth round of the ''A'' group of 73rd Tata SteelChess tournament here.
After the first eight rounds of the category-20 supertournament, both Anand and Nakamura share the lead on 5.5points, a half point ahead of Levon Aronian of Armenia,Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of Franceand world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway.
The face-off with Nakamura will be Anand''s second inrecent times after the Indian ace had drawn with him duringthe London Classic last month. So far here, Anand has wonthree and drawn four while Namakura has won four, lost one anddrawn three.
Five-time winner Anand starts the last five rounds as oneof the hot favourites having already played Carlsen, Kramnikand Aronian. Nakamura still has some tough games left andCarlsen is the other one who gets the backing of the expertswith his ability to strike when it matters.
Anand will have three black games in the last five roundsand his two whites are against Alexei Shirov of Spain andlocal lad Anish Giri who has done quite well so far.
Carlsen, like many times before, is on a comeback missionafter a sedate start. The Norwegian has won three of his lastfour games and in the next round takes on MaximeVachier-Lagrave.
In the ''B'' Group being played simultaneously, GrandmasterSurya Shekhar Ganguly will be hoping for a good finish to endthe tournament engagements at least at par. The Indian has wontwo, lost four and drawn two in the eight rounds so far. Theleader in this section is Wesley So of Philippines, who hassix points.
International Master Tania Sachdev has done quite welldespite starting as the lowest seed in the ''C'' Group. Tania istied for the fourth spot with two others on 4.5 points and oneof her victories earlier in the event came against leaderDaniele Vocaturo of Italy.
Tania needs to score 1.5 points from the next two gamesor win the next against Mark Bluvshtein of Canada to achieveher second Grandmaster norm.
Pairings round 9 Group A: Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 5.5) v/sViswanathan Anand (5.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 5) v/sMagnus Carlsen (Nor, 5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 5) v/s ErwinL''Ami (Ned, 3); Levon Aronian (Arm, 5) v/s Alexei Shirov (Esp,2.5); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 4.5) v/s Jan Smeets (Ned, 2);Wang Hao (Chn, 3) v/s Ruslan Ponomariov (Rus, 4); AlexanderGrischuk (Rus, 2) v/s Anish Giri (Ned, 4).