Anand crushes Shirov to remain in joint lead

Wijk Aan Zee: Viswanathan
Anand scored a crushing victory over Alexei Shirov of Spain in
the 10th round to maintain his position at the top in the 73rd
Tata Steel chess tournament here.

Anand`s victory came about the same time when American
Hikaru Nakamura triumphed over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and the
two maintained their co-leader status moving to an identical
seven points out of a possible 10.

In another major surprise of the tournament world number
one Magnus Carlsen suffered his second defeat with white
pieces in the tournament bowing to Russia champion Ian
Nepomniachtchi in a hard fought game.

The other two over night leaders ? Vladimir Kramnik of
Russia and Levon Aronian of Armenia played out draws with
Dutch duo of Jan Smeets and Anish Giri respectively to remain
a half point behind the two leaders.

With just three rounds to come it remains crowded at the
top and it seems a close call between the top four
placed players.

Carlsen, after the devastating loss, shares the distant
fifth spot with Vachier-Lagrave and Nepomniachtchi on 5.5
points and will now need a miracle to find himself in the
leading group.

Anand faced the Slav defense against Shirov who played
black and quite nonchalantly gained the upper hand in the
complexities that arose in the middle game.

Shirov was off-form here and this game was another
attestation to the fact as the Spaniard missed some fine
prints and landed himself in troubles.

Anand took his chances and was rewarded. Optically the
Indian ace was a pawn less but he had dropped it deliberately
and could always pick it up anytime.

"It was a very complicated game," said Anand, "I think
he missed this manoeuvre in the end that simply wins. Anyways
I feel it was more pleasant for me as if white messes up it
would be an equal endgame and if black messes up (which
happened) he is checkmated," the World Champion added.

As it happened in the game, Shirov`s resistance did not
last long after Anand got the winning manoeuvre on the board
dismantling black`s king side in quick time. The game lasted
just 26 moves.

Meanwhile in the `B` group Grandmaster Surya Shekhar
Ganguly rose back with a fine win against Friso Nijboer of
Holland to take his tally to four points.

The lead positions changed here as Zahar Efimenkov of
Ukraine joined Wesley So of Philippines in the lead on 6.5

Tania Sachdev played out a draw with Benjamin Bok of
Holland in the `C` group to take his points to five. Daniele
Vocaturo of Italy continued to lead this section with a full
point on 7.5 points.