Moscow: World Champion Viswanthan Anand had to find some briliiant resources but in the end the Indian ace found them all to hold nemesis Levon Aronian of Armenia in the fourth round of Tal memorial international chess tournament now underway.
In the eyes of many experts, Anand was closed to lost and on the verge of recording his second loss against Aronian in as many games following the Bilbao final masters. However some precise manoeuvres saw the Indian ace salvage the half point and it bodes well fort he last five games in the strongest tournament ever.
As a matter of fact all five games of the fourth round ended in draws leaving the scoring board as it was after the third round. It means that the four way lead remained intact between Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia, Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Aronian with all having 2.5 points each.
Anand remained in joint fifth spot on 2 points having drawn all his games and giving him company is Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and World cup winner Peter Svidler of Russia. With five rounds still to come in the strongest super tournament, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Hikaru Nakamura of United States share the eighth spot on 1.5 points while next world championship challenger Boris Gelfand is in the cellar with just one point his bag so far.
Pressure was the name of the game for Anand in the fourth round game. The Indian ace faced the queen pawn opening from Aronian and was pushed to wall once the middle game ensued in this keenly awaited encounter.
Aronian did everything right and won a pawn while exerting pressure in the middle game. Then it was Anand’s turn to showcase his defending skills as he kept Aronian’s pieces at bay in the ensuing endgame. The Armenian tried hard but the victory remained elusive and with perfect technique Anand achieved the draw in 60 moves.
Magnus Carlsen yet again went for some unwarranted complications and landed himself in difficulties against Karjakin. However, some prophylactic defensive tactics saw him salvage a half point in the end.
Kramnik looked good for the second day running against Ivanchuk but the later found some perfect counterplay to neutralize white’s initiative.
For Nakamura, it was a close call as many thought he was winning after Nepominachtchi sacrificed apiece but later analysis proved white had some resources. The other game of the day was a tame affair between Peter Svidler of Russia and Boris Gelfand who is set to play the next world championship match against Anand.
It has been a very tough decision for me to make which is why I have given it so much thought since the World Cup.