Viswanathan Anand continued with his fine form even though a victory eluded him against nemesis Hikaru Nakamura of United States in the third round of the Sinquefield Cup, a part of the Grand Chess Tour, here.
Nakamura holds a 7-1 record against Anand in Classical games and many believed that the gap will be bridged a little the way Anand masterminded an attack on the American’s king. However, the game fizzled out to a draw after an entertaining tussle.
Anand took his tally to two points out of a possible three in the USD 300000 prize money tournament and the Indian ace can now look up to the remaining rounds with optimism having played three of the five players rated above him here.
Unlike the first two rounds, there was not decisive game on the third day and five draws between 10 players meant that the standings remained unchanged with six rounds still to go.
Anand continues to be at the top of the tables along with Wesley So of United States, Armenia’s Levon Aronian and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria on two points while the trio of Ding Liren of China, Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana are close on the heels on 1.5 points apiece.
Dutch Grandmaster Anish Giri and top seed France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave share the eighth spot on one point while Peter Svidler stands last currently with a half point to his credit.
Anand started the day with his king pawn and faced the Sicilian Najdorf by Nakamura. It was a tense affair once Anand launched his attack on black’s centralised king and posted his knight on the seventh rank well supported by a pawn.
“I just felt like playing something interesting, something a bit different. The Najdorf is obviously a very solid opening, and I felt like changing it up. I got the kind of position I wanted,” said Nakamura after the game.
When asked about what was going on in his mind in the middle game Anand said, “It’s not like I was ecstatic. “In many positions, if it doesn’t work, you’re just lost (the knight on seventh). It was a very original setup, but we’re still groping in the dark a little bit.”
As the game progressed, Nakamura was able to neutralised Anand’s initiative and the players reached a level rook and pawns endgame to sign peace. In other interesting games, Ding Liren missed out on a golden chance to beat Anish Giri, Fabiano Caruana was down to his last second when he made his 40th move against Svidler while Wesley So bailed out at the right time against Aronian.
Results round 3: V Anand (Ind, 2) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 2) drew with Maxime Vachier—Lagrave (Fra, 1); Anish Giri (Ned, 1) drew with Ding Liren (Chn, 1.5); Wesley So (Usa, 2) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 2); Peter Svidler (Rus, 0.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 1.5).
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