London: Former world champion Viswanathan Anand brought an end to his run of three consecutive defeats and drew with Fabiano Caruana of United States in the eight and penultimate round of the London Chess Classic here.
After a roller coaster ride that involved a victory and three losses in the last four games, Anand drew following a tense battle. Anish Giri of Holland joined overnight leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on top after defeating American counterpart Hikaru Nakamura in the high point of the eighth round.
Yet again, there was just one decisive game as despite pushing hard, world champion Magnus Carlsen was not able to break through the defences of Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, while Armenian Levon Aronian drew with Alexander Grischuk.
In the other game of the day, Michael Adams of England played out his eighth draw on the trot against Vachier-Lagrave. Giri and Vachier moved to five points out of the possible eight to find themselves at the top of the tables. Carlsen, Aronian and Grischuk share the third spot with 4.5 points apiece, while Caruana and Adams have four points each in their bag. With just one round to go in the USD 300000 prize money tournament, Nakamura is eighth on 3.5 points, a half point ahead of Anand who stands ninth. Topalov with two
points is at the bottom.
Anand had to defend but managed to stop Caruana. The latter had done some strong preparation in the Open Catalan and improved upon a game Ponomariov-Karjakin from the 2010 Amber tournament.
Caruana's play involved an exchange sacrifice which was dangerous to accept.
"I couldn't see that I was losing if I took the exchange, but I didn't really feel like trying it," said Anand, who spurned the offer but what he went for, in his own words, "was not so much fun either".
Caruana kept his advantage into the endgame, and at some point won a pawn. Anand's calculation in the resulting endgame was however perfect. "There was a lot of pressure till the very end," Anand said.
Giri played the game of the day but attributed his success to Nakamura's tiredness after a epic game against Carlsen in the previous round. The King's Indian attack came good once Nakamura allowed
a Bishop penetration with disastrous consequences and Giri tightened the screws with every move thereafter.
The game lasted 43 moves. Carlsen tried to push again like the previous round against Topalov but did not succeed this time. The Bulgarian was under pressure in the rook and pawns endgame with one pawn less but some fine defense forced the position in to a theoretical draw. The game ended after 94 moves.