Celebrating his 45th birthday, five times world champion Viswanthan Anand played out an easy draw as white against Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the second round of London Chess Classic, in London on Friday. After showing deep preparation against Kramnik in the opener, Anand could not dent Caruana’s chances as black out of a Queen’s gambit declined and the Italian got an easy half point without having to exert himself at London’s Olympia Conference Centre. This also resulted in Caruana opening his account on another bloody day in the Classic after a drubbing at the hands of local favourite Michael Adams in the first round.
Vladimir Kramnik of Russia scored a crushing victory over Hikaru Nakamura of United States to move up the ladder in this six-player five-round tournament. Kramnik took his tally to four points in the soccer-like scoring system in place here that gives three points for a win and one for a draw. Anish Giri of Holland also won his first game in the Classic outplaying Adams in a nearly one-sided affair. Giri and Kramnik now share the lead on four points each, a point clear of Adams while Anand stands fourth on two points. Caruana with one point from two games is currently at the bottom of the tables with Nakamura.
Anand faced the Queen’s gambit declined from Caruana and nothing worthwhile happened in the game for the Indian as the latter was well prepared. Going for a variation that has been extensively analysed, Caruana made sure sure things were in control with black pieces and the game was drawn in a mere 17 moves vide repetition.
Kramnik provided the fireworks on a disappointing day for Anand’s fans. “I am always happy to play against the King’s Indian defense”, was how the Russian summed up his clean effort against the American. The Petrosian system as white gave Kramnik huge attacking possibilities in the middle game and he did not falter in executing them. The preparation played a key role in this encounter as Kramnik had four minutes more than what he started with when he got the advantage, showing clearly how well armed the Russian was for this key encounter. The game lasted 41 moves.
Adams was outdone from a Bogo Indian opening with black pieces. Giri made most of his opportunities to get a tangible advantage in the early middle game and then knocked down a pawn with precise technique. The rest was just a mater of time and technique and Giri had little to worry about even though Adams tried to make a match of it.