Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand will resume his storied rivalry with Russian legend Garry Kasparov in the Croatia Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz tournament beginning in Zagreb on Wednesday, returning to over-the-board action after more than a year. (More Sports News)
The Indian maestro's last over-the-board event was in March 2020 before COVID-19 and related restrictions put a halt to sporting action across the globe.
Anand will be featuring in both the rapid and blitz segments, while his long-time rival and former world champion Kasparov will take part only in the blitz event.
Anand and Kasparov, who retired in 2005, have been involved in several memorable matches including in the PCA World Championships final held at the World Trade Center in New York in 1995.
He said he was looking forward to playing over-the-board chess again and also taking on Kasparov.
"I am excited to be able to play again. I have had a lot of memories playing with Kasaparov. But it (playing against him) will be different this time," Anand said.
The Chennai chess ace, who is now ranked 15th in the world, will be looking for some good results in a high quality field.
He was a part of the Indian team, which won the FIDE Online Olympiad in August last year jointly with Russia.
Anand, who was stuck in Germany last year when lockdowns and travel restrictions kicked in due to the pandemic, returned to India in June.
Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Elo 2807) is the highest ranked player in the field, which also includes Russian Grandmaster Alex Grischuk, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) and Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia).
Nepomniachtchi, who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world title later this year, has entered the event through a wild card like Anand.
GMs Anish Giri (the Netherlands), Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland), Ivan Saric (Croatia), Anton Korobov (Ukraine) and Jorden Van Foreest (the Netherlands) are also in the fray.
The tourney will see the 10 elite Grandmasters competing over nine rounds of rapid chess (to be played from July 7 to 9) and 18 rounds of blitz chess (to be played on July 10 and 11) for a total prize fund of USD 150,000.
In rapid chess, each player gets 25 minutes to complete the game with 10 second increment time added after each move.
In the blitz event, players get five minutes for the game with two seconds increment time added after each move.