Twin defeats rock Anand in World Rapid chess


Anand, a ten-time winner here including the last seven on the trot, could only manage one point from the first three games in the knock-out stage, losing the first two games against Levon Aronian of Armenia and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia before defeating Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany.

At the halfway mark in the double round-robin preliminary stage, Aronian and Naiditsch share the lead on 2.5 points out of possible three while Anand follows them 1.5 points behind. The other contender, Naiditsch, is yet to open his account.

With just three games to come in the preliminaries, Anand faces a rare ouster threat as he will have to do exceptionally well to finish in the top two and qualify for the finals.

Making things worse for the Indian was that his defeats came with white pieces and the task of a comeback will now have to be carried out with black pieces against the leaders.

Standings (after round III): Levon Aronian (Arm), Ian Nepomniatchchi (Rus) 2.5 pts, 1-2; Viswanathan Anand (Ind) 1, 3; Arkadiz Naiditsch (Ger) 0, 4.

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