World champion Viswanathan Anand defeated Magnus Carlsen of Norway to jump to joint second spot after the end of the third round of the London Chess Classic in London, on Saturday.
The first victory by Anand in the event against world number two came after a hard days' work and ahead of his 41st birthday, giving him more reasons to celebrate the occasion.
Luke McShane of England drew with Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to remain in sole lead on seven points out of a possible nine in the soccer-like scoring system being followed in the tournament.
In a normal event, McShane would have been half a point ahead of Anand while here he enjoys a three point lead. This system is in place to ensure bloody battles as two draws are less than one win that fetches three points.
With McShane defending a very difficult endgame against Kramnik, American Hikaru Nakamura also could not do much once local hopeful David Howell made a fortress of sorts and drew while the all-Brit duel between Nigel Short and Michael Adams also reached the same result a little later.
With four rounds still to come in this 145000 Euros prize money tournament, Anand shares the second spot along with Nakamura on five points, a full point clear of Kramnik and Adams. Carlsen stands sole sixth on three points with one victory and two losses, while Howell with two draws is currently seventh. For Short, the draw against Adams was an account opener.
For some time now, Anand and Carlsen have been debating the popular and age-old Breyer variation of the Ruy Lopez that the Norwegian seems to like a lot. The third round was no different as both navigated on similar paths and in the middle game that Carlsen erred describing it as a "huge oversight" in the post match chat. This changed the complexion of the position in the world champion's favour.
The technicalities, however, remained and it came down to an endgame where White's main advantage was his vastly superior king safety and his ability to point all his pieces at Carlsen's weak pawns. As it happened in the game, Anand's pieces circled and tormented depleted black forces and in the end Carlsen couldn't hold out. The game lasted 77 moves.
The longest game of the event so far was between McShane and Kramnik and the former once again proved a tough nut to crack. Playing the Berlin defense that he had patented across next road from Olympia around 10-years back in his match against Garry Kasparov, Kramnik tortured McShane a long time after equalising easily with black pieces.
However, a late piece sacrifice ensured a theoretically drawn endgame for the Brit and it was after 139 moves and close eight hours after start, that the peace result was signed.
Nakamura showed depth in preparation against Howell in a Grunfeld defense game. Playing white, Nakamura had spent only around 20-minutes on his clock by the 25th move while Howell was reeling under time pressure. Down but not out, Howell played correct moves after sacrificing his queen and forced the draw in 42 moves.
In the other game of the day, Nigel Short employed the Caro Kann defense to hold Adams. A violent middle game led to a pawn plus position for Short but only Adams was pushing for initiative. Short liquidated to an opposite coloured Bishops endgame to open his account after two losses.
In the open tournament being organised simultaneously, former world junior champion and second seeded Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta was held to a draw by International Master Thomas Rendle of England while GM norm holder Sahaj Grover continued with his fine run to demolish the challenge of English IM Colin Crouch. The other Indian in the fray, Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury defeated Michael Yeo of England.
Results round 3: V Anand (Ind) beat Magnus Carlsen (Nor); Luke McShane (Eng) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Michael Adams (Eng) drew with Nigel Short (Eng); Hikaru Nakamura (USA) drew with David Howell (Eng).
Standing after round 3: Luke McShane 7/9, Vishy Anand, Hikaru Nakamura 5, Adams 4, Kramnik 4, Carlsen 3, Howell 2, Short 1. (Games are scored 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss).