Anand beats Ding Liren, jumps to sixth spot
Paris: World champion Viswanathan Anand crashed through the defenses of Chinese champion Ding Liren and jumped to sixth spot after the end of the fifth round of the Alekhine memorial chess tournament here at the Louvre.
Ending the first leg of the tournament on a high, Anand proved too good for Liren, who had earlier beaten world number three Levon Aronian of Armenia in the tournament. It was simply an easy victory that came in quick time.
Local star Maxime Vachier-Lagraev made most of his opportunities against Peter Svidler of Russia to go in to sole lead on 3.5 points out of a possible five. Laurent Fressinet of France caused a big upset defeating Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to move to joint second spot.
In other games of the day, Boris Gelfand of Israel drew with Aronian while English Michael Adams could not convert a slightly better endgame against Nikita Vituigov of Russia and achieved the same result.
The battle will now move to St. Petersburg in Russia where the last four games will be played at the Russian museum. With four rounds to go Fressinet, Aronian, Gelfand and Adams trail the leader with three points apiece while Anand is next with 2.5 points in his kitty.
Ding Liren, Vituigov and Kramnik share the seventh spot on two points. Meanwhile, a luckless Peter Svidler remains at the bottom on just one point.
Anand had his best reserved for Ding Liren. After a rather shaky start with a loss and three draws, the world champion pounced on his chances and outclassed Liren in all departments of the game. For the records, it was a Caro Kann by the Chinese that met with a side lien that has not been extensively analysed.
On his own without much preparation to back him, the Chinese was soon saddled with a passive position and Anand carried out a fine king side attack to complete the whitewash. It took Anand just 32 moves to score his first win in the tournament.
Vachier-Lagraev went for a variation in the Grunfeld that will be most likely named after him in future. The Frenchman got a tenable position out of the opening and then capitalised on a positional error to find himself on top against Peter Svidler. The endgame was handled in copybook fashion and Svidler resigned after 41 moves.
Fressinet played the game of the day to beat Kramnik as black. It was an irregular opening wherein Kramnik first accepted a pawn and then a piece sacrifice that was well worked out by Fressinet. Playing just for initiative, Fressinet kept developing his position on the king side to get a dangerous attack and for once, Kramnik too crumbled under pressure.
Results round 5: V Anand (Ind, 2.5) beat Ding Liren (Chn, 2): Laurent Fressinet (Fra, 3) beat Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2); Peter Svidler (Rus, 1) lost to Maxime Vachier-Lagraev (Fra, 3.5); Boris Gelfand (Isr, 3) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 3); Michael Adams (Eng, 3) drew with Nikita Vituigov (Rus, 2).