Anand draws with Aronian in London Chess Classic
London: World champion Viswanathan Anand failed to capitalise on chances that came his way and played out a draw with tail-ender Levon Aronian of Armenia in the third round of the London Chess Classic here on Tuesday.
Hunting for his first victory in a Classical Chess game since the last World Championship in May earlier this year, Anand got a better position with an extra pawn against Aronian but his opponent fought valiantly to split the points in the end.
World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway played out a draw with co-leader Vladimir Kramnik of Russia while Michael Adams coasted to his second victory in as many games at the expense of top woman player Judit Polgar of Hungary.
In the other game of the day, debutant Englishman Gawain Jones shared the point with Hikaru Nakamura of United States. Carlsen and Kramnik stayed ahead of the field with seven points apiece from their three games under the Soccer-like scoring system in place here. The two leaders are now followed solely by Adams who has scored six points from two games and has an extra game in hand, having received his bye in the nine-player-eight-games tournament.
Hikaru Nakamura slipped to the fourth spot on four points with one win, one draw and lone loss and Anand and Jones are now in joint fifth spot on two points apiece with a couple of draws. Polgar, Aronian and Luke McShane of England are in joint seventh spot with just one point in their kitty.
After two back-to-back loses, Aronian was under tremendous pressure to score his first point in the tournament. The Armenian is also under threat to lose his number two ranking as Kramnik is on the threshold of overtaking him.
This was probably the reason that Aronian was prompted to go in for the Exchange variation in the Slav defense that has the reputation for being extremely solid, safe and yet white can press for some advantage.
The plan, however, backfired as Anand got the complications rolling in his favour after crashing on the queen side. The world champion won a pawn for only a little compensation and looked in fine fettle till Aronian came up with a sterling effort to save the game.
Exchanging at just the right moment, Aronian capitalised on slightly defected pawn structure of Anand, gave another pawn and reached a rook and pawns endgame which was eventually drawn. Carlsen lost a pawn against Kramnik who employed the English opening. The Norwegian had to make a valiant effort to stay in the game and with some fine technical manoeuvres, Carlsen forced the game in to a rook and Bishops endgame where the extra pawn was immaterial. The game lasted 62 moves.
Adams won from an irregular Sicilian as white. Getting a passed pawn in the center, the English pushed for advantage very early and was rewarded by a couple of pawns. The rest was easy.
In the last game of the day, Nakamura tried but could not find a flaw in the technical acumen of Jones. After 80 moves the players signed the peace treaty.
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