Anand draws and lies 12th; Hari, Negi lose sixth round


Wijk Aan Zee (Netherlands) : On a day when the chess fraternity was in a solemn mood hearing about the death of Bobby Fischer in Iceland, chess in the sixth round at the Corus Grandmasters tournament seemed to have taken a backseat Friday.

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The day started with a minute’s silence to mark the death of the legendary player, who ironically died at the age of 64, seeming to denote his association with the game of 64 squares.

On the chessboard World champion Viswanathan Anand played a quick 18-move draw with Vassily Ivanchuk. Anand played a threatening looking idea against Ivanchuk’s Caro Kann but after some careful defending Ivanchuk defused the idea and a draw was agreed in 18 moves. With almost half of the 13-round tournament over, Anand surprisingly is still without a win.

The Group A field is now being led by young Magnus Carlsen of Sweden following his win against Judit Polgar.

Anand is now tied at 12th place, with only Boris Gelfand and Pavel Eljanov having few points than him at 1.5 each.

The news was not good for India in the other groups either. Pentala Harikrishna, joint leader in Group B after five rounds, lost to Dutchman Jan Smeets. Hari had white pieces and went down in 65 moves of a Barcza system. Hari has 2.5 points and is now in tied fifth place.

India’s other player in the group Koneru Humpy drew her game with higher rated Bulgarian Ian Cheparinov, better known as Veselin Topalov’s second. Humpy drew her game in 57 moves with black pieces after a French opening.

Group leader Etienne Bacrot drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi and moved to 4.5 points, half a point clear of Sergei Movsesian, Smeets and Daniel Stellwagen.

In Group C, Parimarjan Negi’s run of three wins was halted by Friso Nijboer of Netherlands. The young Indian, who lost his first two games and then won the next three, lost the sixth round in 52 moves of a Ruy Lopez game, which was in the Marshall variation.

With three points, Negi slipped to tied eighth place.

Group C was led by German IM Arik Braun, who after his sixth round draw with Dmitri Reinderman had five points and leads by half a point over Reinderman, Fabioano Caruana and Nijboer, who have 4.5 points each.

In Group A, Carlsen’s win in 52 minutes of a Nimzo Indian took his tally to 4.5 points, while he was closely followed by Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik chased the win that he seemed to have in the bag earlier against Armenian Lev Aronian. In the end Kramnik won on time.

Kramnik generated a huge positional advantage with some great opening preparation against Levon Aronian. However he let it slide to a possible but difficult draw but Aronian ran out of time to defend the position as Kramnik had five minutes left to Aronian’s one. The position went in the final minute too.