Grenke Chess Classic: Anand beats Vallejo to share lead with Carlsen

Viswanathan Anand defeated Francisco Vallejo Pons and joined Magnus Carlsen in the lead at three points after four rounds of Grenke Chess Classic.

Viswanathan Anand now shares a lead with Magnus Carlsen at Grenke Chess Classic.   -  Special Arrangement

A mix of fortune and fortitude once again came to Viswanathan Anand’s rescue as he defeated Francisco Vallejo Pons and joined Magnus Carlsen in the lead at three points after four rounds of Grenke Chess Classic here on Tuesday.

After saving half-a-point from Carlsen in the previous round, Anand was again in a spot of bother against the Spaniard in their Caro Kann game. But once Vallejo chose to advance his bishop on the kingside, instead of pushing a pawn on the same square, Anand breathed easy and went on to improve his position.

Read: Gritty Anand holds tenacious Carlsen

Later, a desperate Vallejo chose a tactical plan where he traded a rook and two knights for Anand’s queen. Armed with only a queen and rook, Vallejo realised he could not secure a black king and resigned after 47 moves.

“Soon after we started out, I was very angry with myself because I felt he was better,” admitted Anand who also mentioned that Vallejo seemed to have “lost his way” after the sub-optimal bishop-move on the 20th turn.

Later, Anand’s minor pieces occupied strategic squares “to defend everything” before the tide turned in Indian’s favour.

The day witnessed four decisive battles and the only draw of the round involved Magnus Carslen and World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana, in their first face-off after the World title clash in November last. This keen battle lasted 71 moves.

Fourth-round results: Francisco Vallejo Pons (Esp, 1) lost to Viswanathan Anand (3); Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2.5) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3); Levon Aronian (Arm, 2.5) bt Peter Svidler (Rus, 2.5); Georg Meier (Ger, 1) lost to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 2.5); Arkadij Naiditsch (Aze, 2) bt Vincent Keymer (Ger, 0).