Win-less Anand stays with Kasparov, Aronian stretches lead

Viswanathan Anand had a win-less day and drew seven games and lost two – to leader Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin – to retain the eighth spot with Garry Kasparov.

Anand has the opportunity for a stronger finish since nine more rounds of blitz will be played on the concluding day on Friday.   -  AP

Viswanathan Anand failed to improve his prospects in the St. Louis rapid and blitz chess event after a win-less run on the first day of nine blitz games here on Thursday.

Anand drew seven and lost two – to leader Levon Aronian and Sergey Karjakin – to retain the eighth spot with Garry Kasparov. He has another opportunity for a stronger finish since nine more rounds of blitz will be played on the concluding day on Friday.

Playing under the time format of five minutes per player plus three-second delay, Anand easily drew most of the matches without gaining any real chance of winning a game.

Aronian, the overnight leader by one point, managed to stretch his advantage to 2.5 points following his victory over Garry Kasparov in the seventh blitz game. However, he lost the next to Caruana before hitting back strongly in the day’s final round against Leinier
Dominguez Perez.

Though Nakamura was the closest to Aronian in the standings, the day clearly belonged to World blitz champion Sergey Karjakin who scored an incredible 8/9 score in the format. Barring a draw each against Kasparov and Aronian, Karjakin won the rest of the games to move to the third spot behind Hikaru Nakamura.

Anand’s round-wise results (blitz):
R9: Viswanathan Anand lost to Sergey Karjakin (white); R8: drew with David Navara (black); R7: drew with Leinier Dominguez Perez (white); R6: drew with Garry Kasparov (black); R5: lost to Levon Aronian (black); R4: drew with Liem Le Quang Liem (white); R3: drew with Hikaru Nakamura (black); R2: drew with Fabiano Caruana (white); R1: drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi (black).

Standings (after nine rounds each of rapid and blitz):
1. Aronian(18.5)
2. Nakamura (16.5)
3. Karjakin (16)
4. Nepomniachtchi (15)
5. Caruana (14.5)
6. Liem (12)
7. Perez (12)
8-9. Kasparov, Anand (10.5 each)
10. Navara (9.5)
(In nine rounds of rapid, two points were awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss)

Friday’s round-wise opponents for Anand:
Blitz: R10: Nepomniachtchi (white), R11: Caruana (black), R12: Nakamura (white), R13: Liem (black), R14: Aronian (white), R15: Kasparov (white), R16: Perez (black), R-17: Karjakin (black) and R18: Navara (white).