Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand crashed through the defences of Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan to jump to joint lead after the end of the second round of 10th Tal Memorial Chess tournament in Moscow.
Showcasing some brilliant resourceful play, Anand had to tackle what appeared to be a dangerous attack on his king and made excellent use of his first white pieces in the tournament.
Anish Giri of Holland and Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia joined Anand in lead. Giri got the better of Boris Gelfand of Israel in anther steller performance of the day while Nepomniachtchi played out a draw with fellow countryman Peter Svidler.
The other two games of the day were also drawn – Russian Vladimir Kramnik failed to break the ice against Chinese Li Chao while after a disastrous first round, Russian Evgeny Tomashevsky was just happy to open his account against Levon Aronian of Armenia.
With seven rounds to go in the USD 200000 prize money tournament, Nepomniachtchi, Giri and Anand have 1.5 points apiece and they are followed by Kramnik, Li Chao, Aronian and Svidler on one point apiece. Tomashevsly, Gelfand and Mamedyarov share the eighth spot with half a point each in their kitty.
The day belonged to Anand. Mamedyarov followed an earlier game played by Peter Svidler to test Anand but the Indian was the first to deviate on move 15. The position remained complicated for a long time and Mamedyarov went for a piece sacrifice after opening the queen side a bit.
This did not produce the best result as after the tactical melee ended, Anand had an extra piece for three pawns and his knight caused most of the damage to produce a study-like finish. The game lasted 52 moves.
Giri played the King's Indian defense as black and caught Gelfand off guard in the opening. The Israeli used up a lot time in the initial stages and had to pay the price when complexities arose.
Giri first sacrificed a pawn and followed it up with another exchange to draw curtains on a well-played game.
In the next round, Anand is set to meet Li Chao, who has played some solid chess so far. In the game against Kramnik, the Chinese had to defend for a long time but he gave nothing away.
Results round 1: Anish Giri (Ned) drew with V Anand (Ind); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) drew with Li Chao (Chn); Levon Aronian (Arm) drew with Boris Gelfand (Isr); Peter Svidler (Rus) drew with Vladimir Kramnik (Rus); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) beat Evgeny Tomashevsky (Rus).