Viswanathan Anand loses to Caruana in Norway Chess

A day after scoring his first win and joining the leaders, Anand looked in no serious danger for the better part of this Petroff Defence game that soon appeared like the exchange variation of French Defence.

Viswanathan Anand slipped to joint fifth spot, along with Levon Aronian of Armenia and Mamedyarov on 3.5 points apiece. (File Photo)   -  V. GANESAN

Viswanathan Anand suffered a rare defeat with white pieces after his sense of danger surprisingly deserted him against World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana in the eighth and penultimate round of Norway chess tournament, here, on Wednesday.

In the day’s other decisive game, Hikaru Nakamura scored an easy win over Sergey Karjakin. As a result, Nakamura and Caruana joined Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So in the lead at four points.

A day after scoring his first win and joining the leaders, Anand looked in no serious danger for the better part of this Petroff Defence game that soon appeared like the exchange variation of French Defence.

Anand began losing ground around the 27th move and soon gave up his rook for an advanced knight and a pawn. While Anand failed to find the right defence, Caruana kept improving his position.

READ: Norway chess: Victorious Anand joins leaders

Just when Anand was expected to bring to the fore his well-known defensive skills, he faltered. On the 49th move, Anand’s decision to advance his king deeper into the enemy territory hastened the end as he went on to resign a move later.

Eighth-round results: Viswanathan Anand (3.5/7) lost to Fabiano Caruana (USA, 4/7); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4/7) drew with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 3.5/8); Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 4/7) bt Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3/7); Wesley So (USA, 4/7) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 2.5/7); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3.5/7) bye.

Final-round pairings: Karjakin-Anand; Lagrave-Carlsen; Caruana-So; Aronian-Nakamura; Mamedyarov bye.