Grenke Chess Classic: Anand stays second after draw

World Champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by tournament leader Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the seventh round of the Grenke Chess Classic here.

Caruana, with white, could do little other than pressing Anand for a little time in the middle game and this turned out to be Anand's sixth draw in the tournament apart from a lone victory against Arkaditsch Naiditsch of Germany that came in round five.

The draw helped Caruana stay in the lead on 4.5 points out of a possible seven in this category-19 double round-robin tournament between six players.

Another draw for Anand. AFP

Another draw for Anand. AFP

With just three rounds to go, Anand and Naiditsch share the second spot on four points and they are now followed by Georg Meier of Germany and Michael Adams of England on three points apiece.  Daniel Fridman of Germany is in the bottom with 2.5 points in his kitty so far.

The day yet again produced some exciting chess that has been the hallmark of the tournament. Meier scored his first victory at the expense of Fridman, while Naiditsch and Adams drew a combative games in which fortunes fluctuated both ways.

Anand chose the Najdorf Sicilian. The World champion has been trying hard with both white and black and today was another day with black pieces.

Caruana went for a safe setup as white. Something that guarantees fighting for a long term advantage without much risk. The middle game arrived with Caruana fighting for an advantage and Anand was critical of his 24th move.

"The rook just gets in the way, it is already unpleasant for black, it may objectively be ok but not a fun position to play," the Indian ace noted in the post game chat.

As it happened in the game, Caruana enjoyed the pull after trading the queens and towards the end of the game Anand had to find some accurate moves that he was pleased with. The game was drawn after 44 moves.

Meier was also quite happy with his effort. After missing a one-move win against Caruana in the previous round the German played out a fine technical game to beat Fridman out of a Catalan opening.

Fridman spent a lot of time in the early stages of the game to fall under time pressure and he committed the fatal error to reach a pawn less endgame. Precise calculation ensured Meier an easy victory after 60 moves.

Adams got a positional advantage out of an irregular English opening against Naiditsch but kept missing good moves to fall in some real problems.

"I had a very nice position and then I gradually made it worse, steadily move by move, but not quite enough to lose," was how Adams summed up the drawn game.

Results round 7: Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 4.5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 4); Michael Adams (Eng, 3) drew with Arkadij Naiditsch (Ger, 4); Georg Meier (Ger, 3) beat Daniel Fridman (Ger, 2.5).

PTI

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