Anand held by Sokolov, slips to second spot
Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands): World champion Viswanathan Anand slipped to the second position after he was held to an easy draw by tail-ender Ivan Sokolov of Holland in the eighth round of 75th Tata Steel Chess tournament here.
After eight rounds, Anand is at second spot on 5.5 points.
Magnus Carlsen of Norway showed his determination and endgame skills to beat Sergey Karjakin of Russia to regain the sole lead with five rounds to come in this category-20 super tournament. The victory took Carlsen to six points out of a possible nine.
The day produced three decisive games and apart from Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana of Italy came good against Erwin L`Ami of Holland while Armenian Levon Aronian accounted for lone woman participant Yifan Hou of China.
Indian Grandmaster P Harikrishna played out a draw with Peter Leko of Hungary and Anish Giri of Holland played an ultra-solid game to get the same result against Wang Hao of China.
In the other game of the day American Hikaru Nakamura salvaged a much inferior endgame against local star Loek Van Wely.
Apart from Carlsen and Anand, Aronian and Nakamura are also in with a chance on five points each for a shared third spot.
Harikrishna and Karjakin are on joint fifth spot with 4.5 points apiece. Not far behind are Leko and Caruana with four points in their kitty.
For once, Anand could not do anything with his white pieces. Though languishing at the bottom, Sokolov has immense experience and has also authored a best seller on side variations in the Ruy Lopez as black and this time it was the turn of the Schliemann defence that surprised Anand.
The Indian ace came out of the opening with level chances and Sokolov wasted little time in liquidating to a drawn endgame. The game lasted just 24 moves.
Harikrishna continued with his dream run and got another good result. For a debutant in the Wijk Ann Zee premier section, it is certainly a dream beginning.
The game against Leko was a Sicilian Najdorf wherein Harikrishna went for some uncompromising play and an alert Leko equalised without giving much hope. The minor pieces and the queens were traded in the heaps of exchanges that followed and the draw was agreed to after 30 moves.
The day belonged to Carlsen whose perseverance paid high dividends in what many believed to be a drawn endgame. According to pundits, Karjakin committed an error on move 67 that enthused some life in the position and thereafter Calrsen pushed for a victory in the best possible manner. The Russian was forced to give up after 92 moves.
Results round 8: Vishwanathan Anand (IND, 5.5) drew with Ivan Sokolov (NED, 2.5); P Harikrishna (IND, 4.5) drew with Peter Leko (HUN, 4); Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 6) beat Sergey Karjakin (RUS, 4.5); Fabiano Caruana (ITA, 4) beat Erwin L`Ami (NED, 2.5); Anish Giri (NED, 3) drew with Wang Hao (CHN, 3.5); Loek Van Wely (NED, 3.5) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 5); Levon Aronian (ARM, 5) beat Yifan Hou (CHN, 2.5).
The moves: Vishwanathan Anand vs Ivan Sokolov 1. E4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5 4. Nc3 fxe4 5. Nxe4 Nf6 6. Qe2 Qe7 7. O-O d5 8. Nxf6+ gxf6 9. D4 e4 10. Nh4 f5 11. G3 Bg7 12. c3 O-O 13. F3 Bd7 14. Bf4 Bxd4+ 15. Cxd4 Nxd4 16. Qd2 Nxb5 17. Qxd5+ Rf7 18. Rad1 Re8 19. Nxf5 Bxf5 20. Qxb5 exf3 21. Rxf3 a6 22. Qb3 Qc5+ 23. Be3 Qb5 24. Qxb5 game drawn.