Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand survived a scare before eventually holding his position together to escape with a draw against Dutch Grandmaster Anish Giri in the sixth round of London Chess Classic.
Trying to invade early into Giri’s position, Anand found that the former was adequately prepared and while it was an extremely wild game the chances were only for Giri in complexities.
Wesley So of United States cemented his position at the top of the table by handing Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria his fifth defeat in the tournament. The Filipino turned American Grandmaster took his tally to an enviable 4.5 points out of a possible six and now remains a half point clear of compatriot Fabiano Caruana.
Caruana defeated Hikaru Nakamura, also of United States, to remain within striking distance of Wesley So. This was another adrenaline rush for the players as well as spectators and Caruana justified why he is world number two and bridging the gap between him and world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway.
The other decisive battle of the day went in favour of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave who overcame Levon Aronian of Armenia after a keenly contested battle while the game between Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Michael Adams of England ended in a draw.
With Wesley So in command and Caruana on his heels, Kramnik is the other player in with a chance on 3.5 points while Anand, Nakamura, Giri, Aronian and Vachier-Lagrave have an identical three points apiece for a shared fourth spot.
The battle lines are now drawn as the top three finishers from here get a direct seeding in to the next year’s Grand Chess tour and Anand will have a tall task on hand with two black games lined up out of the final three but the Indian ace has been in fine form and trying hard which might just prove enough.
Playing white, Anand went for one of the topoical lines in the Sicilian Najdorf and found Giri in fine fettle. The ‘Tiger from Madras’ was tempted by a piece sacrifice that netted him three pawns but at the same time made his king’s position a little vulnerable.
Giri did everything right for the next few moves but he too faltered as it was not easy for a human mind to keep playing correctly amidst wild complexities. Anand escaped with a draw showing perfect poise in a difficult situation.
Results round 6: V Anand (Ind, 3) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 3);Veselin Topalov (Bul, 0.5) lost to Wesley So (Phi, 4.5); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 4) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 3); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 3.5) drew with Michael Adams (Eng, 2.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3) beat Levon Aronian (Arm, 3).
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