Anand survives Giri scare; remains in second spot

Viswanathan Anand survived a scare against young Anish Giri of Holland before salvaging a draw.

Wijk Aan Zee: World
champion Viswanathan Anand survived a scare against young
Anish Giri of Holland before salvaging a draw in the 12th and
penultimate round of the 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournament.

In Group `A`, the Nepalese-Russian Giri came close to
defeating the world champion with black pieces but Anand
somehow managed to pose enough problems in his opponent`s
path, which is typical when the Indian ace is defending.

The drawn result, however, find Anand half a point behind
leader Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, who also split
points against former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of
Russia in his 12th round encounter.

With just one round remaining in the category-20 super
tournament, Nakamura tops the leaderboard on 8.5 points while
Anand is close behind on eight points.

In other matches, Magnus Carlsen defeated Wang Hao of
China to share the third place with Levon Aronian of Armenia
on 7.5 points while Kramnik slipped to fifth spot with seven
points.

In the final round, Anand will have black against Ian
Nepomniachtchi of Russia while Nakamura will play with the
same colour against Wang Hao.

Giri went for a Semi Slav against Anand that left the
Indian in real problems.

The opening saw young Giri, 16, coming up with a Novelty
early in the game and Anand with his nonchalant play, got an
optical advantage with routine manoeuvres.

It was clear from the moves in the middle game that Giri
understood what he was up to. Anand ran a little short of time
comparatively and had to find some really fine defence after
the first time control.

"I wasn`t happy with my play. I just drifted, making a
move according to one plan and then another in line with a
different one. I had the feeling I was losing, although there
was never anything concrete," Anand told reporters after the
50-move draw.

Against Kramnik, Nakamura decided against taking any risk
and drew quickly that probably put a bit of pressure on Anand
to catch up.

The American sounded confident about the last round
against Wang Hao.

"Tomorrow, I have black against Wang Hao. At least, he`s
not Kramnik. So I`ll have some chances in the final round,"
Nakamura said.

Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly finally managed a win
at the expense of top seed Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland in the
`B` group.

Both Ganguly and Wojtaszek have worked for Anand as
second in the last two world championship and the victory was
immensely satisfying for the Indian.

The `B` group is headed for a tense finish as the two
leaders Luke McShane of England and David Navara of Czech
Republic take on each other in the final round.

India`s Tania Sachdev seems poised for an improved finish
in the `C` group after a well-played victory against Mark Van
Der Werf of Holland.

With 6.5 points in her kitty, Tania has defied all odds
to perform way above her last seeding in the 14-players
tournament.

The situation here is as tense as the `B` group as leader
Daniele Vocaturo of Italy meets 14-year-old Illya Nyzhnyk of
Ukraine in the showdown for the title in the last round.

PTI