World Champion Viswanathan Anand came up with a sterling effort to beat German Grandmaster Arkadij Naiditsch in the fifth round of Grenke Chess Classic in Germany.
After misplaying some fine positions, the Indian ace was finally at his best and Naiditsch was outdone in the middle game itself. The first victory in the tournament took Anand to three points out of a possible five and at the half way stage he stands clear second.
Italian Fabiano Caruana continued to top the ranking after settling for a draw with Daniel Fridman of Germany while English Michael Adams had a close shave before he could restore parity with lowest ranked local hopeful Georg Meier.
With five rounds still to come in the category-19 super tournament between six player, Caruana stays ahead of the field on 3.5 points and he is followed by Anand a half point behind. Naiditsch and Fridman are joint third on 2.5 points apiece while Adams is fifth on two points. Meier with 1.5 points is at the bottom of the tables.
It was a day when nothing could go wrong for Anand. Up against the Berlin defense, the Indian went for the closed Ruy Lopez and asserted his superiority in the middle game.
Naiditsch pieces were tied up on the queen side where the German sought solace and Anand was quick to spot that his lone knight on the king side was under terminal danger.
"If you see a piece then you want to get it," said Anand in the post-game conference and when he went for it, Naiditsch went for a pseudo-aggressive move order that saw his position crumble in no time. Anand wrapped the issue in just 38 moves.
Having missed out on a clear advantage against Fridman in the previous round, Anand said he was doing his best. "I was trying hard, I have been tossing away too many of these (winning positions)."
Caruana was held by Fridman out of a topical Petroff defense. The tournament leader yet again came under pressure when he was saddled with a passive endgame but fought out well to hold on to his slender half point lead.
In the other game of the day, Meier had Adams on the ropes after a mere 12 moves but could not continue the momentum and reached a level position. The draw was agreed to in 35 moves.
In the FIDE open being held simultaneously with the main event, Indian Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi remained in joint lead on four points from five rounds. In the fifth round Negi was held to a draw by Aleksandr Karpatchev of Russia. Negi shares the lead with four others.