Candidates: Anand loses to Nakamura, slips from lead

Nakamura has been Anand’s nemesis for some time and another meeting between the two again brought out the best in the American, who has otherwise had a forgettable Candidates.

With just two rounds remaining in his biggest challenge of the year, Anand has a tall task on hand.   -  AP

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand topsy-turvy campaign at the Candidates Chess tournament in Moscow continued as he suffered another defeat against Hikaru Nakamura of United States in the 12th round and will need a herculean effort to stage any sort of a comeback.

Nakamura has been Anand’s nemesis for some time and another meeting between the two again brought out the best in the American, who has otherwise had a forgettable Candidates.

For the first 11 games, Nakamura had just scored a single victory, seven draws and three losses. The victory against Anand made his record slightly better but the American has no chance whatsoever of winning the Candidates.

With just two rounds remaining in his biggest challenge of the year, Anand has a tall task on hand. He will have to win both his last two games to be in with a chance to challenge Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next world championship match later this year.

It won’t be an easy task as Anand has to meet the seemingly impregnable Anish Giri of Holland and Peter Svidler of Russia. While he plays white against Giri, the black against Peter Svidler in the final round will still be tricky if Anand wins the next one.

Nakamura got everything right at the start. Surprising Anand in another English opening in which the Indian lost to Caruana in 10th round, Nakamura was in control early as Anand was caught off-guard.

In the post-match conference, Nakamura revealed that black’s 11th move was a mistake when Anand saved his Bishop from a pawn onslaught.

Getting in to a difficult situation by move 11 is not what Anand is used to and it was already difficult to find the most resourceful defences. As it happened in the game, Anand lost in just 26 moves.