Summary of sports events and persons who made news on Monday
Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand scored a crushing victory over Shakhriayar Mamedyartov of Azerbaijan in the eighth round to share the lead with Norway's Magnus Carlsen in the Tata Steel chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee. The Netherlands.
Having outclassed Vladimir Kramnik of Russia as black in the previous round, Anand, a five times winner here, continued his demolition act and grounded Mamaedyarov who currently holds the third position in the world rankings.
The Indian ace took his tally to 5.5 points out of a possible eight and is matched only by reigning world champion Carlsen who himself played a fine game to beat Richard Rapport of Hungary.
With two leaders in front, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, Ding Liren of China and local star Anish Giri are right on their heels, tailing by half a point.
Temour Radjabov of Azerbaijan is in sole sixth spot on 4.5 points while other Indian Vidit Gujrathi shares the seventh spot having four points in all. Five rounds still remain in the first super tournament of the year.
Wijk aan Zee has been Anand's favourite hunting ground for over two decades and he seems to be again hitting his top form here. Mamaedyarov was outwitted in all departments of the game.
The Caro Kann defense by the Azerbaijan GM met with the topical advance variation and Anand was in control after a slight inaccuracy by Mamedyarov on 12th move itself.
Anand increased his advantage in a flurry thereafter and struck in the centre with a smart pawn sacrifice. Mamedyarov was outdone thereafter as the Indian temporarily left his rook in the middle of the board and some moves later another tactic on the same square ended the game. It was over in 29 moves.
Carlsen was also in his elements as he avenged his defeat against Rapport a couple of years back in the same round of the same tournament. The Norwegian was in control right through in the Sicilian Taimanov game as white and squeezed out black's resources.
Gujrathi played out a draw with Anish Giri. The fact these two also work together did not make things exciting as Giri opted for a Queen's Gambit declined and Gujrathi did not do much. The players reached a rook and pawns endgame soon and the draw was a just result.
Vladimir Kramnik suffered another defeat as he lost to Jan Krzysztof Duda of Poland while Vladimir Fedoseev defeated American champion Sam Shankland in the other decisive games of eighth round.
Andrey Esipenko of Russia proved superior to R Praggnanandhaa in the battle of young Grandmasters held in the challengers section being held simultaneously. Mikhail Chigaev of Russia was in front on six points out of eight rounds while Praggnanandhaa was on 3.5 points needing some victories in the final lap.
Results Masters Round 8: V Anand (Ind, 5.5) beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 5.5) beat Richard Rapport (Hun, 3); Vidit Gujrathi (Ind, 4) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 5); Duda Jan Krzysztof (Pol, 4) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2); Ding Liren (Chn, 5) drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 5); Jorden Van Foreest (Ned, 3.5) drew with Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 4.5); Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 3.5) beat Samuel Shankland (Usa, 3.5).
India get easy group in FIH Series Finals, venues confirmed too
India were, on Monday, placed in a relatively easy group in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Series Finals, the first-round qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics, and will play their matches in Bhubaneswar from June 6 to 16.
The FIH confirmed the composition of the pools for the six Finals scheduled between April and June this year.
"The FIH Series Finals are one of the roads to reach the Olympic Games. Indeed, the top two teams from each FIH Series Finals will secure a place in the Qualification Events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which will be held in October and November 2019," the FIH said in a release.
Barring Asian Games winners Japan, none of the teams are expected to offer stiff competition to the home team.
Besides India and Japan, the other teams in the group are Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, USA and Uzbekistan.
The women's team will be battling it out at Hiroshima with Chile, Fiji, Mexico, Poland, Russia and Uruguay from June 15-23.
Three pools of eight teams each for women as well as men will compete in these events. No less than 14 teams qualified for the FIH Series Finals played either at the women or the men's World Cups last year.
Canada, China, France, India, Ireland, Malaysia and South Africa all competed at the men's World Cup in Bhubaneswar last month, while India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, South Africa and Spain were in England last summer for the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup in London.
FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: "We can't wait to see the FIH Series Finals to be played. The line-up of teams is quite impressive and the 'road to Tokyo' is at stake, which makes these six events even more attractive."
HC raps CBI for delay in probe into Narsingh Yadav's complaint over doping scandal
The Delhi High Court, on Monday, pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation for not completing its probe into wrestler Narsingh Yadav's 2016 complaint alleging that his food was spiked leading to a ban on him for four years from the sport on charge of doping, and directed a DIG rank officer to look into the matter and submit a report.
Justice Najmi Waziri said the sportsperson had lodged the complaint after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) decision not to give a clean chit to him in the doping violation case and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) why it has not taken any action for the past two-and-a-half years.
The court issued a notice to the CBI and asked it to file its response regarding status of the investigation and how it has pursued the matter by the next date of hearing on February 1.
Prior to the CAS decision, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had cleared him for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He was going to represent India in the men's freestyle 74kg category.
The court, during the hearing, asked the CBI what it had been doing since he made the complaint.
"Why no action till now? What have you been doing for the past two-and-a-half years? This is the CBI, not some other agency," the court said and added that the agency should look at it from the point of view of the sportsperson who has a "short shelf-life", especially in contact sports like wrestling and boxing.
"It would not only be a personal loss, it would be a loss to sports and a loss to bring glory to India. Sportsperson have a short shelf life. Also imagine the ignominy of it," the judge said.
The CBI, represented by central government standing counsel Ripudaman Singh Bhardwaj, told the court that the agency had to question members of the CAS panel who had taken the final decision to slap the four-year ban on Yadav.
Bhardwaj said that members of the CAS panel and the scientists involved in the decision making process were foreign nationals and the agency was sending requests through diplomatic channels for permission to question them.
The court then said it wants to know how the agency has pursued the matter and asked it to show when it had sent the requests and to whom and what was the response received.
"I want to see how you have pursued the matter, will have to see the conduct of your officers," the judge said during the hearing.
"A DIG rank officer shall look into the matter and inform the court within 10 days," the court said.
Yadav has moved the court for speedy disposal of his complaint, saying that it has been pending before the agency since 2016.
He has claimed that he had made several representations to the agency to complete the probe, but nothing has happened till date.