Baden-Baden: Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand got some consolation after scoring a regulation victory over David Baramidze of Germany in the sixth and penultimate round of Grenke Chess Classic, here.
Coming after two straight losses against nemesis Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Levon Aronian of Armenia, the victory served as a breather for Anand as this was also the first win of the year for the Indian ace.
It was also the lone decisive game of the day as world champion Carlsen played out an easy draw as black against Fabiano Caruana of Italy, Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany could not cash his chances against Etienne Bacrot of France while English Michael Adams too gave away an advantage against Aronian.
With just one round to come things did not change one bit in terms of standing despite Anand's lone victory. Carlsen and Naiditsch remained at the top of the tables with four points each int heir kitty while Caruana remains on their heels a half point behind.
The trio of Aronian, Bacrot and Adams are not too far behind on three points each while Anand remained on the seventh spot in the eight-player round robin tournament. Baramidze, after his fourth successive loss, is now set to finish last in the tournament.
The last round promises excitement with Naiditsch, Carlsen and Caruana fighting it out for the top spot. Naiditsch will have a tall task on hand as he takes on Aronian while Carlsen will start as a huge favourite against Bacrot who plays black. Caruana meets Baramidze but will have black pieces in a must win situation while Anand will play black against Adams.
It was another Breyer variation in the Ruy Lopez by Baramidze termed as the 'lazy Breyer' by Carlsen a couple of days back. Anand in his own words 'deviated and not improved' upon what Carlsen played against Baramidze two days back and within five moves got a winning advantage.
Baramidze, hoping to land a lucky punch, went wrong once again in tactics when he went about sacrificing two pieces for a rook. The resulting middle game with extra material offered little hopes and a very pleasing position to Anand.
However, what was believed to be a won position for a long time took a long time converting to a full point and in fact was the last game to end in the day. "I took way too long to win," Anand said after his 65-move victory.
Carlsen went for the trusted Berlin defense and had no troubles in holding out Caruana to a draw. The World champion was expected to take it easy ahead of the final round and one can now expect him to go all guns blazing in the last round.
Adams failed to capitalise on a big chance against Aronian who was a pawn-less in the middle game. However the Armenian wriggled out by pushing his king side pawns forward and drew in 56 moves.
Naiditsch had Bacrot tied down on both flanks but the former missed a chance on his 28th move to increase his advantage. Bacrot was quick to liquidate to an equal position soon after.
Results round 6: V Anand (Ind, 2.5) beat David Baramidze (Ger, 1); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 3.5) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4); Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 3) drew with Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 4); Levon Aronian (Arm, 3) drew with Michael Adams (Eng, 3).