World champion Viswanathan Anand put an end to two straight losses and settled for an easy draw with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the seventh round of Tal memorial chess tournament in Moscow.
After losing to Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in fifth and American Hikaru Nakamura in sixth round, Anand had an easy game as black giving nothing away and comfortably split the point.
Boris Gelfand of Israel continued with one of his best performances ever as he grind down tournament leader Nakamura quite convincingly with black pieces. The Israeli snatched the lead away and now leads solely on five points with just two rounds to go.
The upset galore continued and once again former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was on the receiving end with white pieces against compatriot Dmitry Andreikin. Magnus Carlsen was held to a draw by Russian Alexander Morozevich and if thought he will have to tackle Nakamura. He has now to catch up with Gelfand who has emerged as the top contender for the top place.
With Gelfand in front, Nakamura slipped to the second spot on 4.5 points, a half point ahead of Andreikin, Mamedyarov and Carlsen.
The winner is going to emerge from this group only in the 100000 Euros prize money tournament. Anand inched up to 2.5 points.
Anand employed the Slav defense that has been serving him well for many years now. Mamedyarov tried to continue fighting in fashionable line that gives white a pawn advantage but Anand has already proved that the extra pawn isn't worth a dime.
Looking for some advantage, Mamedyarov could not find anything better than exchanging pieces at regular intervals and pretty soon Anand recovered the lost material to reach a drawn rook and minor piece endgame. The players fought on till mandatory 40 moves before signing peace.
Gelfand came up with the Sicilian Sveshnikov to benefit against Nakamura. After attaining a dynamic position, Nakamura entered an Endgame that was slightly worse due to the presence of an outside passed pawn. Gelfand however had other ideas cooking in his mind as he carved out a brilliant attack against white's king with only the minor pieces on board.
The 40th move was Nakamura's final mistake as Gelfand quickly won a piece with some picturesque manoeuvres and won in no time thereafter.
Kramnik suffered yet again in trying to find an elusive victory. Andreikin equalised out of a Nimzo Indian but the highly regarded Kramnik kept pressing till such time his own queen side collapsed completely. Andreikin scored his first victory after six draws on the trot.
Results round 7: Shakhriayar Mamedyarov (Aze, 4) drew with V Anand (Ind, 2.5); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 4) drew with Alexander Morozevich (Rus, 2.5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 4.5) lost to Boris Gelfand (Isr, 5); Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 2) lost to Dmitry Andreikin (Rus, 4); Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 3) drew with Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 3.5).
Image: Viswanathan Anand
Photograph: Oleg Popov/Reuters