In a wild game which offered both sides chances for the win,Viswanathan Anand prevailed over bottom placed Ludvig Hammer in the penultimate round of Norway Chess 2013.
Hammer had lost five of seven rounds coming into the game,and if Anand had to maintain his outside chances of claiming the title,or finishing in the top two,a win was essential. In most of his games,Hammer,the lowest rated player in the Supertournament,has been able to hold his own till the middle game before inevitably letting his position slip. On Friday,however,Anand deviated as early as in the fifth move of the Grunfeld.
By the eleventh move,Anand had a pawn posted on d6 two squares from promotion. Then he sacrificed his pawn on h3,the first of three sentinels he would give up. This allowed blacks queen a lot of freedom,but also opened up the h file for Anands rook. Black would then collect the pawn on e4 and a2,and with Anand having castled long,Hammer would always not be far from perpetual checks and the draw.
Hammer missed 20. Nc6 that would have helped him retain the material gain,but an inaccuracy here gave Anand a lot of play against the black king. He first started by sacrificing his knight,ripping into the king side and bringing his rook,queen and bishop into the attack on the king. Anand calculated precisely,ensuring there was no counterplay for black,and emerged from the attack an exchange up. Hammer resigned when he was left with a bishop and two pawns against Anands rook and two pawns.
Anand will go into his final round game against Wang Hao behind Karjakin and Carlsen and a win for either will put the title beyond reach. If Anand wins his final round game and both Karjakin and Carlsen lose it could come to tie breaks,but a poor S-B score is more or less certain to leave the Indian second best.
Results round eight:
Viswanathan Anand bt Ludvig Hammer,Magnus Carlsen vs with Wang Hao,Peter Svidler vs Sergey Karjakin,Hikaru Nakamura bt Teimour Radjabov,Veselin Topalov drew with Levon Aronian.
1. Karjakin (6 pts),2. Carlsen (5.5),3. Anand (5),4-5. Nakamura,Aronian (4.5),6-7. Svidler,Topalov (3.5),8-9. Wang Hao,Radjabov (2.5),10. Hammer (1.5)
Aronian vs Carlsen,Hao vs Anand,Hammer vs Nakamura,Radjabov vs Svidler,Karjakin vs Topalov.