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Anand bows out of London Chess Classic

December 15, 2013 13:08 IST

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand bowed out of the London Chess Classic after losing the quarter-finals against Vladimir Kramnik of Russia 0.5-1.5 here at the Olympia.

Anand, who had shown fine form coming in to the quarters, ran out of steam in the second game with white pieces and found himself in a lost position in almost no time in the 1,50,000 Euros prize money tournament.

Michael Adams of England kept the local hopes alive by defeating Russian Peter Svidler in the tiebreaker while Boris Gelfand of Israel stole the limelight ousting Fabiano Caruana of Italy.

In the other quarter-final, Hikaru Nakamura of United States defeated Nigel Short to cement his place in the semis.

It turned out to be a disappointing second game for Anand from the white side of a queen pawn opening. Kramnik opted for the age-old Tarrasch defense and Anand avoided routine theorythat allowed the Russian to equalise without batting an eye.

Anand made a positional error on the 15th turn that gave Kramnik the initiative to look for more and the latter came up with some sterling manoeuvres to seize the advantage. Anand was already fighting a lost position after 20 moves and a final blunder cost him a piece and the game soon after.

While the second game was almost a no-show by Anand, the first game was a clear indication of his good form displayed thus far. Playing black Anand went for the Semi-Slav defense and looked a little worse out of the opening when Kramnik moved his queen over to the sixth rank.

However, Anand's response - a brilliant retreat – left the spectators in no doubt that they were in for a spectacular treat in the mental boxing between two modern greats.

The game ended in a draw in the ensuing endgame and it was a rather abrupt end to the contest when Anand failed to find his rhythm in the return game.

Nakamura, like Kramnik, cruised in to the semi-final defeating Short 1.5-0.5. The American won the first game with black and then drew with white making things look easy.

Michael Adams' early lead against Peter Svidler was squared off by the Russian in the return game but in the tiebreaker the English was spot on and won both his games in the ten-minute chess.

Boris Gelfand had a similar tale to tell in the tiebreaker against fancied Fabiano Caruana after both games under rapid time control ended in draws.

In the open section, former world junior champion and Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta put it across Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan to emerge in a three-way lead.

With one round still to come, the Indian shares the top honours on 6.5 points out of a possible eight along with Jon Ludvig Hammer of England and Vladislav Nevednichy of Romania.

Image: Viswanathan Anand

Photograph: Kent Skibstad/NTB Scanpix/Reuters

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