Viswanathan Anand held by Fabiano Caruana; slips to joint third

Baden-Baden (Germany): World champion Viswanathan Anand slipped to joint third after being held to a draw by second seed Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the second round of the Grenke Chess Classic here.

With two draws from two games, the Indian took his tally to one point. His first white game in the tournament did not come good as Caruana came up with fine counter-play to maintain the balance.

Caruana, who had beaten Georg Meier of Germany in the first round of this six-player double round-robin tournament, was joined at the top by German player Arkadij Naiditsch who outwitted Michael Adams of England.

The other game between Germans Daniel Fridman and Meier ended in a draw paving the way for the latter to open his account.

Caruana and Naidticsch have 1.5 points from one win and a draw and Anand and Fridman are breathing down their necks with two draws apiece.

With eight rounds still to come, Adams and Meier are at the bottom of the standings having half a point in their kitty.

Fabiano Caruana had suffered a major reversal at the Tata Steel Chess tournament and lost his place in the top-10 of world rankings when the event ended.

The Italian explained that there were many factors behind that fiasco and one of them was the absence of his coach Vladimir Chuchelov who is back to work with him here.

After a first round drubbing of Meier, the Italian showed a lot of courage against Anand who had beaten him in the Tata tournament.

The Ruy Lopez by Anand led to slightly better prospects but the Italian came up with a new idea on move 20 to get a level position.

Just two moves later, Anand made a slight inaccuracy that allowed the centre to be dissolved.

In the post game conference Anand candidly admitted he missed a move.

"I should have at least thought about it," he said.

Once the centre was opened, Caruana had no problems and subsequent exchanges led to a drawn opposite coloured Bishops endgame where the peace was signed after 40 moves. Naiditsch pushed hard for a victory and his efforts were rewarded when Adams cracked under pressure.

The Nimzo Indian by the English met with some classical response and it was a tense affair after Naiditsch gave up his queen side pawns for an ambitious attack.

Adams decided to part with a rook for knight but his position remained difficult to defend. After nearly seven hours, the German romped home.

Fridman and Meier played out a draw through repetition of moves from an irregular queen pawn game. The shortest game of the day lasted just 26 moves.

Results round 2: V Anand (Ind, 1) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 1.5); Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 1.5) beat Michael Adams (Eng, 0.5); Daniel Fridman (Ger, 1) drew with Georg Meier (Ger, 0.5).