Anand outwits Vachier for winning start to Norway Chess 2022

Viswanathan Anand produced a positional masterpiece to outwit Frenchman Maxime Lagrave-Vachier in 40 moves to make a winning start in the Norway Chess 2022 at Stavanger.

File Photo of Viswanathan Anand.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

Viswanathan Anand produced a positional masterpiece to outwit Frenchman Maxime Lagrave-Vachier in 40 moves to make a winning start in the Norway Chess 2022 at Stavanger on Tuesday.

Wesley So was the only other winner of the day in the 10-player round-robin event after facing Teimour Radjabov.

Anand, playing white, gained the initiative against the Sicilian Defence after controlling the central squares. An advanced pawn down the middle ensured that Anand’ kept up the pressure. Vachier tried to defuse the tension by a series of exchanges but the neutralisation did not help his cause. Eventually, Anand’s rook on the seventh rank forced Vachier’s resignation after it became clear that the Indian’s queenside passed pawn could prove a winning weapon.

As per the tournament regulations, each win is worth three points. In case of a draw, an Armageddon game is played, where white begins with 10 minutes on the clock, to black’s seven. In case of a draw, black is declared the winner. Winner of the Armageddon game gets 1.5 points.

Three boards ended as draws and decisive results in the Armageddon brought 1.5 points to Magnus Carlsen, Anish Giri and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

The results:
First round: Viswanathan Anand bt Maxime Lagrave-Vachier (Fra); Wesley So (USA) bt Teimour Radjabov (Aze); Magnus Carlsen (Nor) drew with Wang Hao (Chn); (Armageddon - Carlsen bt Wang); Anish Giri (Ned) drew with Veselin Topalov; (Armageddon - Anish bt Topalov); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) drew with Aryan Tari (Nor); (Armageddon - Mamedyarov bt Tari).
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