Anand posts first win, draws with Kasparov; Nepomniachtchi leads

Comeback-man Garry Kasparov suffered his first loss but returned to keep an upbeat Viswanathan Anand at bay on the second day of the St. Louis rapid and blitz chess tournament.

Anand who started the day with a comfortable draw against Nepomniachtchi, warmed up well for the clash against Kasparov with a well-crafted victory.   -  Special arrangement

Comeback-man Garry Kasparov suffered his first loss but returned to keep an upbeat Viswanathan Anand at bay on the second day of the St. Louis rapid and blitz chess tournament here on Monday.

The two most experienced players in the 10-man field met soon after Kasparov resigned in 37 moves while playing with white pieces against current leader Ian Nepomniachtchi and Anand nailed last-man David Navara for his first victory.

With three rounds to go, Nepomniachtchi leads at four points, while the trio of Anand, Kasparov and Sergey Karjakin share the seventh spot at 2.5 points.

The Anand-Kasparov Sicilian game ended in 31 moves though the Indian was expected to press harder with white pieces. The results of the previous round – victory for Anand and defeat for Kasparov – had raised visions of a possibility of another decisive result but that was not to be.

The players tested each other without taking any risk. A series of exchanges followed and simplified the position with neither player gaining any advantage. Though Anand had an extra pawn in the end, but it did not help his cause.

Anand who started the day with a comfortable draw against Nepomniachtchi, warmed up well for the clash against Kasparov with a well-crafted victory. Until the 37th move, it was Navara who enjoyed
better of exchanges but once he pushed a kingside pawn on the 47th move, Anand exploited black’s weakness and went on to win in 62 moves.

The results:

Sixth round: Viswanathan Anand drew with Garry Kasparov (Rus); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia) drew with Le Quang Liem (Vie); Levon Aronian (Arm) bt Fabiano Caruana (USA); David Navara (Cze) lost to Hikaru Nakamura (USA); Leinier Dominguez Perez (Cub) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus).

Fifth round: Anand bt Navara; Kasparov lost to Nepomniachtchi; Caruana bt Perez; Liem bt Aronian; Karjakin drew with Nakamura.

Fourth round:
Nepomniachtchi drew with Anand; Aronian drew with Kasparov; Nakamura drew with Caruana; Perez bt Liem; Navara bt Karjakin.

Standings (after six rounds): 1. Nepomniachtchi (4 points), 2-5. Liem, Aronian, Caruana, Nakamura (3.5 each) 6. Perez (3), 7-9. Anand, Kasparov, Karjakin (2.5 each), 10. Navara (1.5).

Wednesday’s pairings (seventh round): Liem-Anand; Kasparov-Navara; Caruan-Nepomniachtchi; Karjakin-Aronian; Nakamura-Perez; (eighth round): Anand-Caruana; Kasparov-Liem; Nepomniachtchi-Karjakin; Aronian-Nakamura; Navara-Perez;  (ninth round): Karjakin-Anand;
Caruana-Kasparov; Nakamura-Nepomniachtchi; Perez-Aronian; Liem-Navara.