Anand draws with Kramnik

Bilbao: World Champion Viswanathan Anand played out a quick draw with Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to remain in second spot after the end of the third round of the Bilbao final masters tournament here.

Anand, who played his first white in the tournament, could do little against a solid approach by Kramnik and the game ended in under one and a half hours.

The status quo remained as the other game of the day between Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Alexei Shirov of Spain also ended in a draw albeit in contrasting fashion.

The result gave Carlsen his first points in the tournament even as the standings remained unchanged.

At the half way stage in this four-players double round-robin tournament, Kramnik maintained his sole lead on seven points with two victories and his first draw while Anand remained two points behind the leader with two draws and a solo win that he got against Carlsen in the previous round.

Shirov has two points while Carlsen now has one point in his kitty with three rounds remaining in the category-22 event being played under football-like scoring system that gives three points for a win and one point for a draw.

Playing the white side of a Catalan, Anand faced modern theory employed by Kramnik.

Following a game between Russian Alexander Grischuk and Israeli Boris Gelfand in 2008, Anand deferred first on move 17 when he went for the correct sequence of moves but the real New idea came on board on move 19 only when Anand went for a pawn capture leading to simplification of position.

Kramnik quickly found the right path to equalise, regained the lost pawn and the players reached a drawn Bishop and pawns endgame by move 27th itself. PLaying on for another eight moves, Anand forced the draw after making his 34th move.

The other game of the day was much more intense as both Shirov and Carlsen have been win-less so far in the tournament. Carlsen went for the Brayer variation in the Ruy Lopez as black and Shirov went on familiar territory in the middle game that ensued.

The game took a sharp tactical turn in the late stages of the middle game when Shirov got dangerous looking passed pawns in and around the center but a timely breakthrough by Carlsen kept the dynamic balance.

Later the Norwegian prodigy sacrificed his queen for three minor pieces and a long grind ensued wherein Shirov was on the defensive side. Carlsen pressed on till 175 moves before signing the peace.

Anand will have white against Shirov in the return game while Carlsen will take on Kramnik with white after a day’s rest.


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