London Chess Classic: Anand draws with Aronian

In the day’s only decisive battle, Hikaru Nakamura bounced back from the defeat in the previous round and prevailed over Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in 37 moves.

A fourth successive draw took Viswanathan Anand’s tally to 3.5 points and kept him in the joint fifth place with Levon Aronian and Anish Giri.   -  (File Photo)

Viswanathan Anand returned to an opening line after 14 years and easily drew with Armenia’s Levon Aronian in the seventh round of the London Chess Classic here on Friday.

Anand, playing from the black side of this Queen’s Gambit Declined game, opted for a pawn-move on the sixth move – a choice he had not made in years. Aronian, too, played his part to perfection. By the time draw was agreed in 30 moves, the players were left with only three pawns and a minor piece each on the board and over an hour on their clocks.

A fourth successive draw took Anand’s tally to 3.5 points and kept him in the joint fifth place with Aronian and Anish Giri. Wesley So drew with Vladimir Kramnik to stay in the lead with five points. Two more rounds remain.

In the day’s only decisive battle, Hikaru Nakamura bounced back from the defeat in the previous round and prevailed over Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in 37 moves.

Meanwhile, in the concurrently played FIDE Open, long-time leader Aravindh Chithambaram (6.5 points) lost the last two rounds – to eventual champion Etienne Bacrot and runner-up Sebastian Maze (7.5 points each) – and finished 14th .

With Chithambaram slipping, Abhijeet Gupta (seven points) emerged as the best Indian on view and finished sixth after being tied for the third place. In the final round, Abhijeet drew with Barcot, who tied with Maze at 7.5 points and was declared the champion on superior tiebreak score.

The results:Seventh round: Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5) drew with Viswanathan Anand (3.5); Wesley So (US, 5) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 4); Hikaru Nakamura (US, 4) bt Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3); Anish Giri (Ned, 3.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul, 1); Michael Adams (Eng, 3) drew with Fabiano Caruana (US, 4.5).

Eighth-round pairings: Topalov-Anand; Caruana-So; Nakamura-Aronian; Kramnik-Giri; Vachier-Adams.