Anand draws with Carlsen; slips to second spot

Wijk Aan Zee: World
Champion Viswanathan Anand played out an easy draw as black
against World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the
seventh round of the `A` group of 73rd Tata Steel Chess
tournament here.

With an easy outing that many pundits did not expect,
Anand took his tally to five points out of a possible seven
while Hikaru Nakamura of United States edged past him past the
half way stage with a finely crafted victory over Jan Smeets
of Holland.

With six rounds still to come, Nakamura is well in front
on 5.5 points, a half point clear of Anand and a full point
ahead of Levon Aronian of Armenia and Vladmirik Kramnik of
Russia who both ended on the winning side in this round.

Aronian had a tough game against Alexander Grischuk of
Russian in which the former came out with flying colours while
Kramnik capitalised on superior opening preparation once again
to beat young Dutch Anish Giri.

Playing the Sicilian Najdorf that gave him a fine victory
against Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine earlier in the
tournament, Anand faced a rather harmless setup by Carlsen.

The Norwegian went for fianchetto of the King`s Bishop
generally regarded as a positional manoeuvre aimed at causing
the damage on the queen side.

Anand however was well armed as the pace of his moves
showed and it was Carlsen in fact who took more time despite
coming up with the `opening surprise`.

The Indian ace parted with his Bishop for a Knight on the
11th move and seized the center with two pawns getting
adequate play. Carlsen could not find anything better than
trading the queens and reaching a level endgames a few moves
later. The game lasted just 18 moves.

Foregoing a post-mortem, Carlsen quickly left the
tournament hall after the game. Anand was asked whether he was
hurrying to the marquee on the village commons in order to
show the fans the ins and outs of his game. The world champion
was not amused.

"I suspect the audience can do without an explanation
today," he said.

The game of the day was awarded to Nakamura for his
exemplary effort against Smeets. The American who recently
broke in to the top ten world rankings went for the sharp
Botvinnik variation and had to work hard in all departments of
the game. In the end his three pawns proved stronger than
Smeet`s lone rook after 61 moves.

Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly came up with an
inspired effort to break out of the last spot in the `B` group
with a fine victory against Wouter Spoelman of Holland.

Playing white, Ganguly threw everything at the black king
in a Sicilian Najdorf, sacrificed his queen to force matters.
The Indian got the best game of the day prize in this section
which is now led joint by Wesley So of Philippines, Luke
McShane of England and Zahar Efimenko of Ukraine.

In the `C` group, International Master Tania Sachdev`s
aspiration to get her second Grandmaster suffered a blow as
she was beaten by top seed Murtas Kazhgaleyev of Kazakhstan.
Tania had a dead drawn position in which the ticking clock did
the trick for the Kazakh.