Anand survives Giri scare; retains second spot
World champion Viswanathan Anand survived a scare against young Anish Giri of Holland before salvaging a draw in the 12th and penultimate round of the 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournament.
In Group 'A', the Nepalese-Russian Giri came close to defeating the world champion with black pieces but Anand somehow managed to pose enough problems in his opponent's path, which is typical when the Indian ace is defending. The drawn result, however, finds Anand half a point behind leader Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, who also split points against former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in his 12th round encounter.
With just one round remaining in the category-20 super tournament, Nakamura tops the leaderboard on 8.5 points while Anand is close behind on eight points.
In other matches, Magnus Carlsen defeated Wang Hao of China to share the third place with Levon Aronian of Armenia on 7.5 points while Kramnik slipped to fifth spot with seven points.
In the final round, Anand will have black against Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia while Nakamura will play with the same colour against Wang Hao. Giri went for a Semi Slav against Anand that left the Indian in real problems.
The opening saw young Giri, 16, coming up with a Novelty early in the game and Anand with his nonchalant play, got an optical advantage with routine manoeuvres. It was clear from the moves in the middle game that Giri understood what he was up to. Anand ran a little short of time comparatively and had to find some really fine defence after the first time control.
"I wasn't happy with my play. I just drifted, making a move according to one plan and then another in line with a different one. I had the feeling I was losing, although there was never anything concrete," Anand told reporters after the 50-move draw. Against Kramnik, Nakamura decided against taking any risk and drew quickly that probably put a bit of pressure on Anand to catch up.
The American sounded confident about the last round against Wang Hao. "Tomorrow, I have black against Wang Hao. At least, he's not Kramnik. So I'll have some chances in the final round," Nakamura said. Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly finally managed a win at the expense of top seed Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland in the 'B' group.