MOSCOW Nov 27: Defending FIDE world champion Vishwanathan Anand of India suffered a stunning defeat with the white pieces at the hands of bottom seed Olivier Touzane of France in the opening round of the FIDE world championship.
Anand is seeded first in the 128-player tournament.
The tournament is organized as a series of two-game elimination matches, with rapid and blitz playoffs in the case of ties. Anand would need to win with black Wednesday to remain in the competition.
Surya Shekhar Ganguly, 18, of India achieved a draw with the white pieces against former FIDE world champion Alexander Khalifman of Russia.
Sixty-four top women players are also competing under the same format for the women’s world championship. The world’s strongest woman player, Judit Polgar of Hungary, is playing in the men’s championship.
The world’s top two rated players, former world champion Garry Kasparov and Braingames world champion Vladimir Kramnik, both of Russia, will try to rival FIDE with an exhibition match in Moscow beginning Dec. 1.
With a prize fund of US$ 500,000, the match will include four regular games, six rapid games and 10 blitz games.
Chess has had two world champions since 1993, when Kasparov broke away from FIDE and formed the Professional Chess Association. He defended his title under the PCA’s auspices in 1993 and 1995. The PCA disbanded in 1998.
In 2000, Kasparov lost a match to Kramnik, sponsored by Braingames.net, an Internet company. Kramnik is scheduled to defend his title next October against the winner of a qualifying event in July.
The FIDE finals will be held in mid-January. The total prize fund is more than US$ 2.12 million, with the new champion receiving at least US$ 400,000.