Carlsen extends lead, mixed day for Anand at Tata Steel rapid and blitz chess

After finishing day one of the Tata Steel rapid and blitz chess tournament with two wins, Magnus Carlsen stretched his winning run.

Published : Nov 23, 2019 20:27 IST , Kolkata

Magnus Carlsen in action against India's Vidit Gujrathi.
Magnus Carlsen in action against India's Vidit Gujrathi.

Magnus Carlsen in action against India's Vidit Gujrathi.

Precisely six years to the day, after waking up as the new World champion in Chennai, Magnus Carlsen continues to provide reasons that underline the belief surrounding his invincibility.

After finishing day one of the Tata Steel rapid and blitz chess tournament with two wins, the Norwegian stretched his winning run at the expense of Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri on Saturday.

In the time between these wins, Carlsen dabbled in a bit of football, showed his control and dribbling skills. Feeling refreshed, he returned to dominate Anish Giri.

Contrary to the run of play and much to the joy of the spectators at the National Library auditorium here, Carlsen almost faltered against wild card Vidit Gujrathi.

Read: 'I try to land the first punch'

Having held a one-pawn advantage and dominated the eventually drawn game, Vidit admitted being left with a feeling that he let Carlsen off the hook.

All this while, for the second successive day, Anand’s start-stop journey continued.

Anand drew from the reserves of his vast defensive skills to punish Levon Aronian. “I had this feeling the trend was against me the whole game. Everytime I thought I was okay, I would realise I was worse,” admitted Anand after his victory.

Against Hikaru Nakamura, Anand salvaged a draw following a remarkable rally. But with white pieces against Anish Giri, an under-pressure Anand ran out of magic.

When the dust settled down after six fiercely-fought rounds, Carlsen was threatening to make it a one-horse race, having established a four-point lead over Nakamura and comeback-lad Wesley So.

Anand, needing to finish sixth or higher and qualify for the GCT Finals in London next month, shared the fourth spot with Ding Liren and Giri.

On this day, P. Hari Krishna matched Anand’s strides at the start before losing twice. Hari pushed Ian Nepomniachtchi to his third defeat in four games and temporarily jumped to the second spot. The Russian, the conqueror of Anand, failed to spot a tactical blow by Hari, who traded his queen for the rook pair. Nepomniachtchi resigned at a point when he stared at a continuation being down a bishop.

Thereafter Hari bowed to Aronian and Nakamura to fall back. Vidit, before holding Carlsen, drew with Giri and lost to So.

The results (rapid):

Sixth round: Viswanathan Anand lost to Anish Giri (Ned); Vidit Gujrathi drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor); P. Hari Krishna lost to Hikaru Nakamura (USA); Ding Liren (Chn) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm); Wesley So (USA) drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus).

Fifth round: Nakamura drew with Anand; Giri lost to Carlsen; Aronian bt Hari; So bt Vidit; Nepomniachtchi lost to Liren.

Fourth round: Anand bt Aronian; Carlsen bt Nakamura; Hari bt Nepomniachtchi; Liren lost to So; Vidit drew with Giri.

Points*: 1. Carlsen 10 points; 2-3. So, Nakamura (7 each), 4-6. Anand, Liren, Giri (6 each), 7-9. Hari, Vidit, Aronian (5 each), 10. Nepomniachtchi (3).

*Win - 2 points; Draw - 1, Loss - 0.

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