Carlsen Joins Anand, McShane in lead at London Chess Classic

London: World Champion Viswanathan Anand
signed truce after failing to break Englishman Luke McShane`s
solid defenses while Magnus Carlsen defeated local hope David
Howell to join the leaders after the fifth round of the London
Chess Classic here today.

Anand and McShane remained the only two undefeated
players in the tournament following a draw between them while
Carlsen benefitted from an oversight by Howell in the second
time control.

Going by normal rules, Anand and McShane are the only two
leaders but the soccer-like scoring system, which gives three
points for a win and one for a draw, has put Magnus back on
track for the title with three wins.

Anand and McShane have won two and drawn three which
means that under normal scoring system they would tally three
and a half points each, half point more than Carlsen who has
lost two games.

With all leaders on nine points, Vladimir Kramnik, who
drew with English Michael Adams, is sharing the fourth spot
along with American Hikaru Nakamura on eight points each.

Nakamura got the better of an out-of-sort Nigel Short who
suffered his fourth defeat in the 145000 Euro tournament being
played on round robin basis between eight players.

Adams holds the sixth spot on six points while David
Howell remained on two, a full point ahead of back-ranker
Nigel Short.

Anand pressed for advantage in the Berlin defense game
but it seemed the Indian was much better in the middle game
that ensued. McShane however remained on his guard right
through and restored parity with some timely exchanges leading
to a drawn queen and bishops endgame.

"These are trends, a month from now we may see them all
switch over to something else," said Anand when asked about
the Berlin defense that`s in vogue here.

"I was better after the opening but it was just
slightly better, if it was serious, I did not see it," the
world champion said.

Carlsen defeated Howell from the black side of a Najdorf
Sicilian. The Norwegian was in his elements post the second
time control after Howell erred on the 43rd move and wrapped
the issue quickly.

Kramnik faced the Kind pawn opening and it was another
Berlin defense by the Russian. The alternative main line
employed by Adams did not yield much as Kramnik equalised
quickly and started looking for initiative.

Adams had to find some resources to let the game drift
towards a draw.

Nakamura was pleasantly surprised to see Short employing
a side variation in the Marshall Gambit. The American was on
top in the middle game with an extra pawn and relished the
endgame that arose after subsequent exchanges.

Short, who is going through a forgettable event, could
not pose much of a challenge.

In the open event being organised simultaneously, 15-year
old International Master Sahaj Grover came back into the
reckoning with a fine win over Nicolai Getz of Norway.

While Sahaj moved up to four points out of five games,
Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta remained on 3.5 after losing to
Gawain Jones of England.

With four rounds still to go, Grandmaster Saptarshi Roy
Chowdhury is also on 3.5 points and the lead is shared by
Simon Williams of England and and Gavin Wall of Ireland --
both have five points each.

Bureau Report