Sinquefield Cup: Anand holds Nakamura

Possessing half a point after the first round, the Indian is joint-third in the tourney with five other players.

File Photo: Viswanathan Anand had finished 10th in the St Louis Rapid and Blitz Championship.   -  AP

India’s Viswanathan Anand held Hikaru Nakmura of the U.S. to an easy draw in the first round of the USD 300,000 Sinquefield Cup, a part of the Grand Chess tour, here.

After having finished 10th at the St. Louis Rapid and Blitz Championship, Anand started on a fresh note, refusing to give any chance to Nakamura out of a Queen’s gambit declined. The pieces changed hands at regular intervals as Anand equalised with a typical central breakthrough in the middle game and the players arrived at a drawn queen and pawns endgame in quick time where the peace was a just result.

Aronian beats Karjakin

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan got off to a flier, cruising past Wesley So of the U.S. In the other decisive game of the day, Levon Aronian of Armenia came up with a brilliant endgame show to beat Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

The other two games in the ten-player round-robin tournament ended in draws. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave split the point with world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and U.S.’s Fabiano Caruana could not make much headway against Alexander Grischuk of Russia.

Mamedyarov, Aronian lead

With eight rounds still remaining in the tournament, Mamedyarov and Aronian emerged as early leaders with one point, while Anand, Nakamura, Carlsen, Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana and Grischuk follow them at half-point behind.

It turned out to be a good day for Mamedyarov, who enjoyed his typical variety of chess with complications remaining for the major part. Until a week ago, Wesley So was leading the Grand Chess tour but the pounding in rapid and blitz and the first round loss here means that the Filipino-turned-American will have to recover lost ground.

It was another Queen’s gambit declined of the day but Mamedyarov put pressure on the king side to win a pawn by force. The technicalities remained but the Azerbaijani made it look like child’s play and it was a picturesque finale where the checkmate was imminent.

Aronian outwitted Karjakin out of a Berlin defense game as white. Slow manoeuvring throughout the game out of a level position ensued in the queen-less middle game and Karjakin was the first to err. Aronian wrapped it up in 69 moves.

Results, Round One
  • Hikaru Nakamura (U.S.) drew with V. Anand (Ind);
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor);
  • Fabiano Caruana (U.S.) drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus);
  • Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) beat Wesley So (U.S.);
  • Levon Aronian (Arm) beat Sergey Karjakin (Rus)