Wijk Aan Zee: Desperately in need of some big wins, world champion Viswanathan Anand will take on former women's world champion Yifan Hou of China in the 11th round of 75th Tata Steel Chess tournament here.
With 6.5 points from 10 games thus far, Anand has a tall task on hand if he wants to have a go at his sixth title here.
The Indian ace shares the second spot along side Levon Aronian of Armenia and Hikaru Nakamura of United States, but the difference between the trio and the leader Magnus Carlsen of Norway is huge.
Carlsen is sitting pretty on eight points and enjoys a 1.5 points lead which is likely to see him as a clear winner. However, as the tournament reaches its business end with three rounds remaining, all his pursuers are likely to try their best to do a catch-up act.
Anand has the best chance and he is likely to give it his best shot. After Yifan, the Indian is set to play Erwin L'Ami of Holland and Wang Hao of China in the last two rounds.
The three opponents currently rank 11-13 in the 14-players round robin tournament, meaning Anand has a relative easier opposition to meet.
However, it seems that nothing less than three wins would suffice for Anand which is something very hard to achieve especially with two black games left. Carlsen on the other hand has Wang Hao, Nakamura and Anish Giri of Holland left and the minimum that the Norwegian will be hoping for is a 50 per cent score.
It is astonishing to see Carlsen's recent graph. After eclipsing the all-time high rating record of former guru Kasparov, it seems he has not set his sights on the 2900 rating mark. A feat unthinkable till about a year back.
At 2872 in live ratings, Carlsen has bettered Kasparov's record by 21 points and seems hungry for more. For Aronian and Nakamura it's a very tough job on hand.
They have to play with each other and then Aronian has to meet Giri and Fabiano Caruana of Italy while Nakamura has to play Carlsen and Harikrishna. From the look of it, Anand has sealed himself second place, whether he can give Carlsen a run for his money, post the third rest day, remains to be seen.
The World champion has done well for himself and stands to gain important rating points thus far from the tournament.
P Harikrishna showed a lot of promise in the tournament and only a shocking loss against Yifan in the previous round spoiled his party. With five points from ten rounds, he still looks good to cross the 2700 rating barrier which will give a huge boost to his morale.