Zagreb: Viswanathan Anand's hunt for the first victory continued as he drew his seventh straight game, signing peace with Fabiano Caruana of the United States in the eighth round of the Grand Chess tour.
Magnus Carlsen continued his dominating form and downed Ding Liren of China in another spectacular effort to continue to lead the tables with six points out of a possible eight.
Wesley So of the United States defeated compatriot Hikaru Nakamura to keep within a half point of Carlsen on 5.5 points while the rest of 10 competitors will need a miracle to catch up with the reigning world champion with just three rounds to come in the 12-player round-robin event.
Caruana shares the third spot with Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia and Levon Aronian after the latter two played out an easy draw between themselves.
Liren holds the sole sixth position on four points a half point ahead of Anand, Sergey Karjakin of Russia, Maxime Vachier Lagrave of France and Anish Giri of Holland.
Giri was the other winner of the day, capitalising on some dubious opening choice from Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and winning in style.
For Anand, it was a real chance to win his first game but the Indian ace could not make use of his better position with an extra pawn. The closed Sicilian was similar to Carlsen's game against Nepomniachtchi in the previous round but Caruana chose a different path and ended up on the receiving end.
Anand was much better at some point but Caruana kept fighting till the very end and finally found a manoeuvre that helped him reach a theoretically drawn endgame.
Carlsen used his preparation from the last world championship match to catch Ding Liren unawares. The Chinese had to spend a lot of time in the opening and at one point the difference in time used was over one hour in favour of the Norwegian.
Liren thought he had wriggled out of his problems when the queens got traded but this was exactly the point when Carlsen got into his elements. Displaying eloquent technique, Carlsen won in 59 moves.
Results round 8:
V Anand (Ind, 3.5) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 4.5); Ding Liren (Chn, 4) lost to Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 6); Levon Aronian (Arm, 4.5) drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 4.5); Anish Giri (Ned, 3.5) beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3) Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3.5); Wesley So (Usa, 5.5) beat Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 2.5).
Updated Date: Jul 05, 2019 22:23:23 IST