Anand suffers loss at Bilbao Masters

The Indian now holds the third spot with three points in four rounds.

Vishwanathan Anand suffered his first loss in Classical chess against Anish Giri.   -  AP (File Photo)

Defending champion Viswanathan Anand suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Dutch Grandmaster Anish Giri in the fourth round of the Bilbao Masters final chess tournament. After three draws coming under different circumstances, Anand suffered a typical case of chess blindness and his opening blunder cost him dearly against Giri, who used the opportunity well. For the records, this was Anand's first loss against Giri in Classical chess.

Riding on his victory, Giri joined overnight leader Wesley So of United States in lead on six points under the soccer-like scoring system that gives three points for a victory and one for a draw. Wesley So played out a hard-fought draw with Liren Ding of China, who now shares the third spot with Anand on three points, with two rounds still to come in the four-players double round-robin tournament.

Giri chose the English opening that is in vogue these days. Playing black, Anand fell for a simple trick as early as on move 11 when a Bishop move by the Indian turned out to be serious inaccuracy. Giri pounced on his chance in quick time and Anand was faced with a very difficult choice to either lose a pawn and wait for the inevitable or try and create some counter-active chances.

As it happened in the game, Anand gave up his queen for two pieces as early as move 17 but the counter play for the lost material was never enough. The game was fought till move 37, when Anand ran out of his allotted time.

Liren Ding's attempt to liven things up against Wesley So boomeranged a bit. Playing the white side of an irregular queen pawn, Ding felt some pressure when Wesley got his king side attack and only some timely exchanges helped in neutralising the initiative. The players arrived at a rooks and minor piece endgame wherein Wesley got the draw through repetition. The game lasted 53 moves.

With just two rounds to come, Anand has one white game against Wesley while against Ding the Indian will play black. The game against Wesley is likely to be crucial for the five times world champion.

Results round 4: Anish Giri (Ned, 6) beat V Anand (Ind, 3); Liren Ding (Chn, 3) drew with Wesley So (Usa, 6).

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