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Monday, February 4, 2013

Tata Steel Chess: Anand Finishes Joint Third, Carlsen Claims Crown

Levon Aronian congratulates Magnus Carlsen (right) as World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand looks on. (Photo: Tata Steel Chess Press)

World champion Viswanathan Anand suffered a shocking last-round defeat against Wang Hao of China and had to be content with a joint third finish at the 75th Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands. 

Having done decently so far, Anand ran out of steam in the last round and was outplayed by Wang Hao. Anand remained at sixth spot in the world rankings and stands to gain seven rating points from his efforts.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway completed the formalities of winning the crown after surviving a scare against Anish Giri of Holland. Carlsen was pushed to the wall but salvaged a half point to match Garry Kasparov's best ever 10 points out of a possible 13 in this tournament.

Levon Aronian of Armenia ended second on 8.5 points after a draw with out-of-sort Fabiano Caruana of Italy. Anand with eight points in all tied for the third spot with the other winner of the day -- Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

After a spate of draws in the last round, Peter Leko of Hungary finished fifth on 7.5 points, half a point more than Hikaru Nakamura of United States who played out a draw with P Harikrishna in his final round game.

Harikrishna finished seventh on 6.5 points in the 14-player round-robin event and is set to become the third Indian after Anand and K Sasikiran to enter the 2700 rating club post his performance at this tournament.

For the record, Anish Giri, compatriot Loek Van Wely and Wang Hao tied for the eighth spot on six points while Chinese girl Yifan Hao ended 11th with 5.5 points in all.

Caruana, on five points, ended 12th while the Dutch duo of Erwin L'Ami and Ivan Sokolov finishing in the last two spots with four and three points respectively.

Anand faced the Scotch four Knights opening by Wang Hao widely known to give black a level position. However, it was a bad day in office for Anand when nothing went right.

After the trading of queens in the middle game, the Indian was saddled with a slightly inferior position and Wang Hao used his queen side pawn majority to perfection to score one of the biggest victories in his career.

Harikrishna yet again stood better. The Hyderabadi has proved that he belongs to the big league and his performance in this tournament is likely to reap in more invitation to strong tournaments.

Playing black against Nakamura's irregular opening, Harikrishna won a pawn with some imaginative display but a momentary lapse in concentration saw the American climb back in the game.

The ensuing knight and pawns endgame was just a draw after Harikrishna gave his knight and pocketed the last remaining pawn of white.

Results final round: Wang Hao (Chn, 6) beat V Anand (Ind, 8); Anish Giri (Ned, 6) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 10); Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 5) drew with Levon Aronian (arm, 8.5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 7) drew with P Harikrishna (Ind, 6.5); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 8) beat Loek Van Wely (Ned, 6); Erwin L'Ami (Ned, 4) drew with Ivan Sokolov (Ned, 3); Yifan Hou (Chn, 5.5) drew with Peter Leko (Hun, 7.5).

Final standings: 1. Carlsen 10 pts; 2. Aronian 8.5; 3-4. Anand, Karjakin (8 each; 5. Leko 7.5; 6. Nakamura 7; 7. Harikrishna 6.5; 8-10; Giri, Hao, Van Wely 6 each; 11. Hou 5.5; 12. Caruana 5; 13. L'Ami 4; 14. Sokolov 3. (PTI)



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