Sinquefield Cup: Victorious Anand in joint lead

Anand and Levon Aronian won their games to join overnight leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave at 4.5 points.

Viswanathan Anand shakes hands with Ian Nepomniachtchi after his victory.

Maintaining his fine form, Viswanathan Anand punished Ian Nepomniachtchi for over-ambitious play and recorded a second victory to move into joint lead after the seventh round of the Singquefield Cup chess tournament here on Wednesday.

Anand and Levon Aronian won their games to join overnight leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave at 4.5 points. In the eighth round, Anand plays white against Lagrave while Aronian clashes with Peter Svidler.

Playing white against Sicilian Najdorf adopted by his young Russian rival, Anand was in control. On the 31st move, Nepomniachtchi’s decision to sacrifice a queenside pawn to mount a double-rook attack backfired. Anand accepted the offer, saw off the offensive and then pushed a queenside pawn to the seventh rank.

By the end of the 40th move, Nepomniachtchi had no counter-play as he found Anand’s king well poised to discourage any plan of pushing a kingside black pawn. At this point, the Russian resigned. Soon thereafter, Vachier drew with Sergey Karjakin to match Anand’s tally. Later in the evening, Aronian scored his second successive victory, this time with black pieces, over Hikaru Nakamura in 54 moves.

Magnus Carlsen (4) slipped to the fourth spot after being held by Peter Svidler.

The results:

Seventh round: Viswanathan Anand (4.5) bt Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 2.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 4.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3.5); Hikaru Nakamura (2.5) lost to Levon Aronian (4.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 3) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4); Wesley So (U.S.A., 2.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (U.S.A., 3.5).

Eighth-round pairings: Anand-Vachier; Aronian-Svidler; Nepomniachtchi-Carlsen; Caruana-Nakamura; Karjakin-So.