Back in form, Anand wins again


Wijk Aan Zee (Netherlands) : Viswanathan Anand roared back into full flow as he shot down all ideas coming from Bulgarian Veselin Topalov to register his second successive game in the 70th Corus Grandmasters chess tournament Sunday.

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The win from a Sicilian-Najdorf in 40 moves and on the dot of the first time control saw Anand move up to tied fourth place in the elite Group A from the lowly position he occupied after the first few rounds. Anand now has 4.5 points and is now only one point behind leader Magnus Carlsen, after becoming the only winner in the eighth round.

The second place is shared by Vladimir Kramnik and Lev Aronian. Anand is next with Teimour Radjabov.

In Group C, India’s Parimarjan Negi, who has not drawn a single game, notched up his fifth win in eight rounds, beating Chinese-born Dutch player Peng Zhaoqin. Negi has five points and moved to tied third, one point behind leader Fabiano Caruana from Italy. Negi took 63 moves for the win from Sicilian Paulsen.

In Group B both Pentala Harikrishna and Koneru Humpy drew their eighth round games. Humpy played a good draw against leader Etienne Bacrot of France in a marathon 123-move game in Queen’s Gambit declined.

Hari also went a long way to 66 moves against Erwin L’Ami of Netherlands in Four Knights opening for a draw.

There was an incident in Group B, when Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria refused to shake hands with Nigel Short before the game. With a handshake being mandatory, Cheparinov, who is a second for Topalov, with whom Short has had run-ins before, was deemed to have forfeited the game. But the game has gone into appeals and if Cheparinov apologises in writing, the game will be held again.

In Group A, the Anand-Topalov match was the big clash. The game was expected along the Sicilian Najdorf. Topalov made his signature move h5 on eighth but then tried a new idea on the 11th move. It was clearly with a plan to trade the dark square bishops.

But Anand was comfortable with that idea – though he did say after the game he would need to analyse that line more for the future.

Within the next few moves, Anand found a way to consolidate his position for an edge. The key moment was the strong 18th move, when with his g3 Anand controlled the h3-c8 diagonal. With a series of simple and effective moves, white increased his advantage, and after the 29th move from Anand things looked bleak for the Bulgarian. “After that he was close to lost,” said Anand later on.

White won a pawn, and with the black knight on h5 completely out of play, it only took a few accurate moves from the Indian to secure a win that was surely one of the big ones in this tournament.

Group A leader Magnus Carlsen was trying to press ahead for a win against Boris Gelfand but once the game simplified to all pawns on the Kingside a draw was certain. Judit Polgar held Vladimir Kramnik with a solid but passive variation of the Queen’s Indian as she never had a difficulty in the major piece ending.

Results and standings:

Group A:
Carlsen, Magnus drew with Gelfand, Boris
Kramnik, Vladimir drew with Polgar, Judit
Radjabov, Teimour drew with Ivanchuk, Vassily
Anand, Viswanathan beat Topalov, Veselin
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar drew with Aronian, Levon
Van Wely, Loek drew with L�k�, Peter
Eljanov, Pavel drew with Adams, Michael

1. M. Carlsen 5.5
2. V. Kramnik and L. Aronian 5
4. T. Radjabov and V. Anand 4.5
6. S. Mamedyarov, M. Adams, V. Ivanchuk and L. van Wely 4
10. J. Polgar, V. Topalov and P. Leko 3.5
13. P. Eljanov, B. Gelfand 2.5

Group B:
Bacrot, Etienne drew with Koneru, Humpy
Short, Nigel D – Cheparinov, Ivan (in appeal)
Harikrishna, P drew with L’Ami, Erwin
Stellwagen, Dani�l drew with Smeets, Jan
Krasenkow, Michal beat Sargissian, Gabriel
Hou Yifan drew with Nepomniachtchi, Ian
Spoelman, Wouter lost to Movsesian, Sergei

1. S. Movsesian 6
2. E. Bacrot 5.5
3. P. Harikrishna, D. Stellwagen, J. Smeets 4.5
6. N.Short, I. Nepomniachtchi, E. L’Ami and M. Krasenkow 4
10. Humpy Koneru, I. Cheparinov and Y Hou 3.5
13. G. Sargissian 2.5
14. W. Spoelman 1

Group C:
Braun, Arik lost to Caruana, Fabiano
Van der Wiel, John beat Grivas, Efstratios
Negi, Parimarjan beat Peng Zhaoqin
Nijboer, Friso lost to Van der Werf, Mark
Ushenina, Anna beat Ruijgrok, Dennis
Krush, Irina beat Carlsson, Pontus
Li Shilong lost to Reinderman, Dimitri

1. F. Caruana 6
2. D. Reinderman 5.5
3. P. Negi, A. Braun and J. van der Wiel 5
6. F. Nijboer and E. Grivas 4.5
8. M. van der Werf 4
9. A. Ushenina and P. Carlsson 3.5
11. S. Li and I. Krush 3
13. Z. Peng 2
14. D. Ruijgrok 1.5