Tata Steel Chess: Anand stays on the bubble, Carlsen opens five-point lead
Viswanathan Anand, needing to finish sixth or higher for place in the four-man finale, was tied for fifth spot alongside Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi.
Five time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand in action against Hikaru Nakamura at the Tata Steel Chess tournament on Monday.
The suspense around Viswanathan Anand’s qualification to the Grand Chess Tour Finals in London next month remained following his roller-coaster ride in the first nine rounds of blitz games in the Tata Steel chess tournament here.
Needing to finish sixth or higher for place in the four-man finale, Anand was tied for fifth spot with an already-qualified Ding Liren and a resurgent Ian Nepomniachtchi. Still on the bubble, Anand has to strike better in the remaining nine rounds to ensure qualification on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen (21.5 points) opened a massive five-point lead despite losing to Liren. World No. 1 blitz player Hikaru Nakamura (16.5) kept his second spot ahead of Wesley So (13.5) and Anish Giri (13).
Anand, scheduled to play against Nakamura, Carlsen and Liren in the last three rounds, lost to the Norwegian rival and drew with the other two. As seen in the rapid format, Anand won against Levon Aronian and So but lost to Nepomniachtchi and Carlsen.
In fact, Viswanathan Anand recovered well after taking off on the wrong foot against Nepomniachtchi. He immediately made amends by scoring over the day’s favourite ‘whipping boy’ Aronian, who lost six times! Later, Anand’s victory over So stood negated following the defeat to Carlsen.
“Against Vishy (Anand), it was a decent game, but it was a draw for most of the time,” said Carlsen on asked to reflect on his standout game of the day.
If Anand added 4.5 points from nine games, Carlsen netted 6.5. He defeated Vidit Gujrathi and P Hari Krishna before losing to Liren. Returning with a vengeance, he took out Nepomniachtchi, Aronian and Anand on the trot to show the stuff he is made of.
Matching unbeaten Nakamura’s tally of 5.5 points was Nepomniachtchi. Having suffered four losses in the first five rounds of rapid, the youngster recovered with four wins and five draws. He stumbled following two defeats, including one to Hari, in the next three rounds
before signing off by beating Aronian.
Anish Giri became the first player to be declared “lost on time”, against So. “I focussed too much on the board and lost sight of the time. It happens sometimes in this time-control, with a three-second-delay for every move. Even Carlsen has lost in his manner,” explained the man who collected four points from blitz games.
13th round: Anand bt So; Hari lost to Carlsen; Aronian drew with Vidit; Nepomniachtchi bt Giri; Liren drew with Nakamura;