Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand defeated Sergey Karjakin of Russia and came roaring back into the lead after the 11th round of the Candidates Chess tournament in Moscow.
After suffering a defeat at the hands of Fabiano Caruana of United States in the previous round, Anand was in a must-win situation to stay afloat in the biggest challenge of the year and the Indian ace came out with flying colours dumping the local hopes in spectacular style.
The other highlight of the day was Armenian Levon Aronian’s loss to Peter Svidler of Russia which meant that there are mainly two contenders for the final dash of the Candidates that will select the challenger to world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway.
While the world is craving for Anand-Carlsen third edition, Caruana is the one who is calling the shots now thanks to his better tiebreak. However, American would be kicking himself not to have converted a clearly better position against Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the eleventh round.
With three rounds still to come, Anand and Caruana are the two new leaders on 6.5 points apiece while Karjakin is now sole third on six points to his credit. Anish Giri of Holand, Svidler and Aronian are now on 5.5 points apiece hoping for a miracle to turn their fortunes around while HIkaru Nakamura of United States and Topalov will be hoping to finish well in the last four games.
Yet again Anand staged a grand comeback while being down and out and it was a true demonstration of his grit that saw the day through. It was an Anti-Berlin opening yet again wherein Anand seized the early initiative with his better preparation as Karjakin fell way behind on the clock.
As it happened in the game, Anand capitalised on his better placed rooks to reach a slightly better rook and opposite coloured Bishops endgame wherein Karjakin had to play precisely.
The Russian erred in the defense and Anand was soon all over him with some finely crafted manoeuvres. In the end it was a sweet revenge for the Indian ace.
Aronian was calling the shots but misread his chances against Svidler who was spot on to cash in. After being in lead, this will be a tough challenge for Aronain to stage a comeback.
Anish Giri played out his 11th draw on the trot. Against Hikaru Nakamura of United States, the Dutchman enjoyed slightly better prospects but could not sail through.
In the other game of the day, Fabiano Caruana was close to winning against Topalov according to chess engines but the American did not read his chances well enough.
Results round 11: V Anand (Ind, 6.5) beat Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 6); Anish Giri (Ned, 5.5) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 4.5); Peter Svidler (Rus, 5.5) beat Levon Aronian (Arm, 5.5); Veselin Topalov (Bul, 3.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 6.5)
Here are Anand and Karjakin’s moves
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3 Ne7 8. d4 Bb6 9. Bd3 d5 10. Nxe5 Nxe4 11. Nd2 Nd6 12. Nb3 c6 13. Nc5 Ng6 14. Qh5 Bxc5 15. dxc5 Ne4 16. Bxe4 dxe4 17. Rd1 Qe7 18. Nxg6 hxg6 19. Qg5 Qxg5 20. Bxg5 f6 21. Be3 g5 22. Rd6 Re8 23. Rad1 Be6 24. b3 Kf7 25. R1d4 Bf5 26. a4 Re7 27. g4 Bh7 28. b4 Bg8 29. b5 Rc8 30. Rd7 Re8 31. b6 a6 32. Rc7 Kf8 33. c4 Be6 34. Rxe4 Kf7 35. f4 Rxc7 36. bxc7 Rc8 37. f5 Bd7 38. h4 g6 39. Rd4 Rxc7 40. hxg5 fxg5 41. Bxg5 Be8 42. f6 Kf8 43. Bf4 Rh7 44. Kg2 Bd7 45. Bg5 Be6 46. Rd8+ Kf7 47. Rb8 Bxc4 48. Rxb7+ Kg8 49. Rb8+ Kf7 50. Kg3 Ke6 51. Re8+ Kf7 52. Rc8 Bd5 53. Kf4 Ke6 54. Re8+ Kd7 55. Ra8 Ke6 56. Re8+ Kd7 57. Re3 a5 58. Kg3 Rf7 59. Kf4 Rh7 60. Re1 Kc8 61. Kg3 Rf7 62. Re8+ Kd7 63. Ra8 Kc7 64. Kf4 Rd7 65. Bh4 Kb7 66. Re8 Bf7 67. Re4 Bd5 68. Re3 Bf7 69. Kg5 Ka6 70. Re7 1-0