Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand did not capitalise on his chances and misplayed a better endgame to settle for a draw with Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany in the second round of Grenke Chess Classic.
The draw with white pieces might prove costly for Anand especially because the position was clear. This was second straight draw for the Indian ace in as many games after splitting the point with world number two Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the opener.
Meanwhile World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway showed no mercy and defeated Michael Adams of England in his legendary torturous way. The Norwegian shot in to sole lead on 1.5 points following the victory as the other two games in the eight-player round-robin tournament also ended in draws.
Levon Aronian could do little against lowest ranked David Baramidze of Germany and had to sign peace while Fabiano Caruana achieved the same result against Etienne Bacrot of France.
With six rounds still to come, Carlsen is now followed by Anand, Caruana, Aronian, Baramidze and Naiditsch on one point each while Adams finds himself at the bottom of the tables on just a half point from his two games.
Anand faced the Tarrasch defense in his white game in the tournament. The opening has been going through a renaissance lately but the variation played by Naiditsch got in to troubles as Anand had an ace up his sleeves.
Uncorking a new idea on the 13th move, a definite improvement over a recent rapid game between Boris Gelfand of Israel and Hao Wang of China, led to a worse endgame in almost no time for Naiditsch who agreed in the post-game conference that the opening went “horribly wrong”.
Anand reached a double rook and pawns endgame where black had weaknesses in pawn structure but the Indian could not find the best path to victory even though he remained better a long time. Naiditsch took the chances in his stride to force a draw after 53 moves.
“When we got to this ending I thought my position is just very very promising, some difficult choices…. I assumed I must be winning with four rooks (on board) but somehow I couldn’t nail it. Every move I can show here is promising but I missed my chance somewhere,” said Anand during the post-mortem of the game.
Carlsen not only won the first decisive game of the tournament but also ended his five games drawn streak in the process. The World champion had drawn the last four games to win the Tata Steel tournament less than a fortnight back and had drawn the first game here too against Aronian.
It was an English opening where nothing went right for Adams as he was put under pressure in early stages of the middle game. The English Grandmaster wriggled out with pawn sacrifice but faced a daunting task of salvaging an inferior endgame. Carlsen won in 64 moves.
Caruana stood better amidst wild complexities of a King’s Indian defense against Bacrot. Playing white, the Italian seized the initiative in the middle game but handed it back following an energetic plan by Bacrot. The ensuing endgame was even and the players split the point in 54 moves.
Baramidze played it very safe in an Anti-Berlin as white and exchanged pieces at will to hold Aronian. For the records it was an opposite coloured Bishops endgame in a mere 41 moves when the truce was signed.
Results round 2: V Anand (Ind, 1) drew with Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 1): Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1.5) beat Michael Adams (Eng, 0.5); David Baramidze (Ger, 1) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 1); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 1) drew with Etienne Bacrot (Fra, 1).