Anand stuns Karjakin, in joint lead with Caruana

Five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand produced a master-class in endgame to outwit overnight co-leader Sergey Karjakin and joined Fabiano Caruana in the lead with 6.5 points after 11 rounds of the World chess candidates tournament on Thursday.

Viswanathan Anand alongside his 11th round opponent Sergey Karjakin.   -  FIDE

Five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand produced a master-class in endgame to outwit overnight co-leader Sergey Karjakin and joined Fabiano Caruana in the lead with 6.5 points after 11 rounds of the World chess candidates tournament on Thursday.

This was Anand’s fourth victory — the most by any player so far — in the eight-player elite field. The triumph helped the Indian avenge the loss suffered against the Russian last week. Three more rounds remain in this competition to determine the challenger to the world champion, Magnus Carlsen.

In the other decisive game on Thursday, playing black, Peter Svidler stunned Levon Aronian. Earlier, on Wednesday, Anand was surprised by Caruana in the 10th round.

Against Karjakin, he began cautiously with the white pieces against the previously-undefeated Karjakin, following the opening lines of anti-Berlin Defence. The Indian gained a slight advantage in the middle game but not a decisive one.

Sustained pressure

The sustained pressure from Anand proved too much for Karjakin. Minor errors began creeping into his defence and he eventually could not prevent the Indian from gaining a central pawn on the 34th move.

Slowly, Anand managed to promote one of the central pawns smartly to the seventh rank after a clever pawn-exchange on the king’s side. With Karjakin failing to find the right continuation, Anand brought his king into action and came up with some brilliant rook moves to slowly push the rival king away from the advanced pawn.

Karjakin gave up on the 70th move when Anand forced an exchange of rooks that would have paved the way for him to either ‘queen’ the pawn, or gain Karjakin’s bishop by force.

The results:

11th round: Viswanathan Anand (Ind, 6.5) bt Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 6); Levon Aronian (Arm, 5.5) lost to Peter Svidler (Rus, 5.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 4) drew with Fabiano Caruana (USA, 6.5); Anish Giri (Ned, 5.5) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 4.5).

10th round: Caruana bt Anand; Karjakin drew with Anish; Aronian drew with Topalov; Svidler drew with Nakamura.