Anand draws with Topalov; still joint second

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand’s hunt for a second victory continued as he played out his seventh draw in eight games in the penultimate round of Sinquefiled Cup, part of the Grand Chess tour, here today.

Anand played out his seventh draw in eight games.   -  AP

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand’s hunt for a second victory continued as he played out his seventh draw in eight games in the penultimate round of the Sinquefiled Cup, part of the Grand Chess tour, here today.

A draw with Veselin Topalov leaves Anand still joint second and the Indian will have a tall task on hand to try and force matters with black pieces against Peter Svidler of Russia in the ninth and final round game.

Wesley So of United States continued to lead the tables by playing it out safe against compatriot Fabiano Caruana and took his tally to 5 points to remain ahead of the field.

Armenian Levon Aronian cashed in on his chances against American Hikaru Nakamura to liven up things in the race for the title. Aronian won with white pieces against Nakamura who had been sick the previous night and could not pose any real threats.

In the other two games of the ten-player round robin tournament, top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave drew with Ding Liren of China while Peter Svidler defeated Anish Giri of Holland.

With just one round to go now, Aronian, Topalov and Anand trail Wesley by half a point and it will be an interesting final round wherein Wesley has to meet Vachier-Lagrave who is tied fourth and in need of a victory to catch up.

In case of tied scores at the top, tiebreak games of shorter duration will be played to determine the winner.

Anand tried hard but the victory eluded the Indian ace yet again. The enterprising battle arose from Berlin defense wherein Anand had his knight stranded in the corner for a long time but Topalov was saddled with a tripled pawn in the bargain.

Anand’s attempt at creating more weaknesses did not work even though his position remained preferable. To Topalov’s credit, accurate and active play held the balance for the Bulgarian. There were many interesting pitfalls for both players along the way to a well-fought draw.

As part of the Grand Chess tour, the event carries a total prize pool of USD 300,000 out of which USD 75,000 is reserved for the winner.

This being the third leg, the final event of the year will be the London Classic in December.

Results round 8: V Anand (Ind, 4.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (Arm, 4); Anish Giri (Ned, 3) lost to Peter Svidler (Rus, 3); Wesley So (Usa, 5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 4); Levon Aronian (Arm, 4.5) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 3.5); Ding Liren (Chn, 4) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 4).

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