Zurich: World champion Viswanathan Anand will take on Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the fourth round of Zurich Chess Challenge here. With all the six games between four participants ending in a draw in the first three rounds, the stage is set for a fitting finale in the double round robin event.
For the records, Anand shares the top spot on 1.5 points along with other competitors Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Boris Gelfand of Israel and Caruana. With everyone tied on 1.5 points apiece, it has been a decent outing for Anand in the tournament. In the first round, the Indian was pressing against Caruana while in the second, he had no difficulty against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.
The third round saw a complicated battle against Gelfand ending in a draw which was again a normal result even as the machines suggested otherwise. Now, the world champion holds a slight edge over others with three rounds to come as he gets to play two white games out of the last three. After playing Caruana as white, Anand will have black against his last world championship challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel and then in the last, the Indian ace will take on Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.
Kramnik and Caruana on the other hand have just one white game left and Caruana holds an edge between them as he has plays with the favourable colour against lowest ranked Gelfand.
Kramnik has a white game left against Caruana but the latter has been doing well in the openings for quite some time against the Russian. After finishing second behind Anand in the just concluded Grenke Chess Classic, Caruana is playing more solidly here.
The Italian has not been any serious difficulties unlike the previous tournament where he was very lucky to survive some bad positions. Caruana can fancy his chances against Gelfand if his opening preparation holds good. For Anand, the white games are going to be crucial as against Gelfand in the fifth round the Indian will be happy to equalize.
Gelfand has earned himself a lot of respect after turning out to be a worthy rival for Anand in the last world championship. While many had touted it to be a clear victory for Anand, the Indian was able to win only in the rapid tiebreaker to retain the crown. Pairings round 4: V Anand (Ind, 1.5) v/s Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 1.5); Boris Gelfand (Isr, 1.5) v/s Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5).