Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand bounced back from his fourth round loss and beat his former world championship challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the fifth round of London Chess Classic, the concluding edition of the Grand Chess Tour.
After suffering a defeat at the hands of Hikaru Nakamura of United States, Anand staged his customary comeback in style, giving an endgame lesson to Topalov who remains on the bottom of the tables.
Yet again, there was just one decisive game and the remaining four ended in draws. Armenian Levon Aronian started out what Nigel Short termed as a ‘coffee-house’ attack against World champion Magnus Carlsen and the game ended in a draw.
Nakamura pressed for an advantage but English Michael Adams remained solid as ever while Maxime Vachier Lagrave of France signed peace with Anish Giri of Holland after an interesting battle.
In the other game of the day, Fabiano Caruana of United States was on the verge of winning against Russian Alexander Grischuk but the latter survived when the former could not spot a winning continuation in the queen and minor pieces endgame.
Past the half way stage and with just four rounds to go, Giri, Vachier-Lagrave and Nakamura continued to lead the tables with three points apiece while Anand, Carlsen, Caruana, Grischuk, Adams and Aronian have all got 2.5 points apiece.
Topalov is on just one point and his chances of lifting the Grand Chess Tour trophy have almost ended.
Anand went for the variation Vachier-Lagrave had chosen against Topalov successfully just a couple of days back.
Realising that the Bulgarian was a bit tentative in slow positional game against the French Grandmaster, Anand decided to test the variation again.
It was a quiet opening and a quieter middle game where pieces changed hands and the players arrived at a rook and minor piece endgame in which Anand had a superior knight. The opinions on the outcome of the game were divided as many Grandmasters thought black will be able to hold but Anand came up with a pawn sacrifice to lure Topalov in to a crisis situation.
The finale was picturesque as Anand created a checkmate web around Topalov’s king in quick time and the Bulgarian could only watch as he first saw his extra pawn and subsequently the Bishop disappear from the board. The game lasted 74 moves.
Nakamura had an extra pawn to boast against Adams but the tension got diffused with some timely exchanges by the local hopeful who has done pretty well thus far being a wild card.
Alexander Grischuk survived the time scramble once again but his position didn’t as Caruana was headed to a fine victory with white pieces. However on move 46, the American missed a simple nuance and allowed Grischuk to come back in the game.