Anand in second spot after draw

Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Levon Aronian of Armenia maintained their lead after they played out a draw in the eighth round. They have 4.5 points each. The Indian ace has four points out of a possible seven at the halfway stage of the Candidates Chess. tournament.

A file picture of Viswanathan Anand   -  The Hindu

Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Levon Aronian of Armenia maintained their lead in the World Chess Candidates tournament in Moscow on Saturday. They drew with each other in the eighth round and have 4.5 points each, with six rounds remaining.

India’s Viswananthan is in the second place with four points, after drawing with Anish Giri of the Netheralnds, with black pieces. The day also saw Hikaru Nakamura of the United States posting his maiden win in the tournament, against the hapless Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

The day’s other match, between Peter Svilder of Russia and Fabiano Caruana of the United States ended in a draw. Caruana has now 3.5 points, the same as Giri, who has done no harm to his reputation by drawing all his seven games in the tournament so far.

Nakamura and Svidler have three points each, while Topalov, who has lost three games, has two.

Queen’s gambit declined

It turned out to be a very easy game with black for Anand who went with his trusted move order in the Queen’s gambit declined. Having used it once against Aronian here, one may have thought Giri had an antidote but as things panned out, it was another effortless half point for Anand.

The tone was set early in the opening when two minor pieces changed hands and Anand reached a symmetrical pawn structure. The Queen’s got traded and the pieces flew off the board in quick succession. By move 20 there was no doubt in anyone’s mind about the result and the players split the point on move 31.

The results (eighth round): Anish Giri (Ned) 3.5 drew with Viswanathan Anand (Ind) 4; Sergey Karjakin (Rus) 4.5 drew with Levon Aronian (Arm) 4.5; Hikaru Nakamura (US) 3 bt Veselin Topalov (Bul) 2; Peter Svidler (Rus) 3 drew with Fabiano Caruana (US) 3.5.

(With inputs from Agencies)