Regrouping himself after the rest day on Thursday,Viswanathan Anand got out of his slump with a draw in round seven of the Tal Memorial,to register points for the first time in three games.
The World Champion had fallen to a 29-move loss to Magnus Carlsen in round five,immediately followed by another reversal,this time against Hikaru Nakamura. Fridays draw against Shahkriyar Mamedyarov was enough to see Anand get off the bottom of the table and the Indian is currently tied for the seventh to ninth places,with Vladimir Kramnik in tenth place. Kramniks poor tournament continued,as he lost to the lowest ranked player in the frey,Dmitry Andreikin. Boris Gelfand outplayed overnight leader Hikaru Nakamura to take the sole-lead,with two rounds to go.
If Anands objective was to get himself back on track with a straightforward game after his recent disasters,then he achieved it without fuss against Mamedyarov. It may have not been too adventurous,but it was practical of the World Champion to go for a risk-free,exchange-intensive approach in the Semi-Slav set up. He was after all in dodgy form himself,and playing black against Mamedyarov who was joint-third and undefeated this tournament.
Anand levelled out of the opening and after a string of exchanges,it was clear,as early as around the 25th move,that the game was heading to a draw. A symmetrical pawn structure,and equally active rook and minor piece for either side meant there was no scope for a result and since the rules of the tournament forbade the signing of early draws,Mamedyarov and Anand played on until the 40th move before splitting the point.
On the top board,the game between overnight leader Nakamura and Gelfand,who was half a point behind in second place,proved to be more interesting. Boris Gelfand went for the Sicilian defence and out of the Sveshnikov variation sprang a complex position. Nakamura erred in allowing Gelfands bishops to occupy the center of the board and from there his game collapsed rapidly,the result pushing last years World Championship challenger to the top spot. Anand plays Kramnik with white pieces on Saturday.
Results,round seven: S Mamedyarov drew with V Anand,H Nakamura lost to B Gelfand,V Kramnik lost to D Andreikin,M Carlsen drew with A Morozevich,S Karjakin drew with F Caruana.
Standings after round seven: 1. B Gelfand (5 pts); 2. H Nakamura (4.5); 3-6. D Andreikin,S Mamedyarov,M Carlsen,F Caruana (4); 7. S Karjakin (3),8-9. V Anand,A Morozevich (2.5); 10. V Kramnik.