The small event, having just five rounds between six players, boasts of a very strong field led by reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, who is playing his first tournament since clinching the champion's tag from Anand.
     
For Anand it will be a new challenge and one can expect him to play at his best having got a good rest. For the upcoming candidates tournament too, this could prove to be a good warm-up.
     
World number two Levon Aronian of Armenia, Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Hikaru Nakamura of United States and former world championship challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel complete the lineup of what is the highest category tournament ever in the history of the game.
     
This will be the first time when Anand starts a tournament as the lowest ranked player with his world ranking slipping to number nine. According to the January list, Nakamura is third, Caruana is fourth and Gelfand is just a shade ahead of Anand at eight.
     
Anand's return to competitive chess after the World Championship was in London Classic but it was played under rapid chess rules.
     
The Indian was ousted in the quarterfinals when he lost to Vladimir Kramnik of Russia. Here, however, it will be a different ball game wherein Anand will get a chance to test himself before the Candidates Tournament slated in mid-march.

 (Agencies)

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