Former World champion Viswanathan Anand played out an effortless draw with Fabiano Caruana of Italy to finish second in Shamkir Chess tournament in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, on Sunday.
On what turned out to be an easy day as black in the final round, Anand just had to follow his instinct as Caruana decided not to press the Indian in a routine opening theory.
World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway capitalised on a blunder by Rauf Mamedov of Azerbaijan to seal another super tournament victory. Carlsen finishing with a tally of seven points speaks volumes about the gap between him and the rest in terms of rating points.
Carlsen took his rating to 2875 points after his remarkable show in the tournament and Anand not only entered the 2800 club again but will also be seen at No. 2 in the World rankings next month after a long time.
The Indian ace was at the top of his game and only Carlsen could supersede him in terms of points scored. While Carlsen won five and drew four, Anand won three and drew six games.
Caruana and Wesley So tied for the third spot in this 100000 Euros prize money tournament organised in memory of Grandmaster Vugar Gashimov, scoring an identical five points. Caruana needed a victory to match Anand on points but he was unable to force the issue.
Anand faced the Reti opening by Caruana and was never in any danger despite playing black. The middle game was easy as Anand exchanged pieces at will to reach an equal endgame and by then Carlsen had already beaten Mamedov to end any doubts about Anand catching up with him on points in the event of a drawn result by him and a victory by Anand.
Anand also let the result come along and did not try anything unwarranted. After reaching the minor pieces endgame with no breakthroughs available, the piece was signed.
Carlsen's position was preferable and in his typical style, the Norwegian exerted pressure and was rewarded as Mamedov simply overlooked a decisive queen invasion.
After this tournament, there will be a flurry of super tournaments with excess of a million dollar in prize money. As per the deal signed a couple of days back in the United States of America, Anand will be a part of these super tournaments slated in Norway, America and United Kingdom in June, August and December respectively.
Results (Final Round):
Fabiano Caruana (Ita, 5) drew with V Anand (Ind, 6); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 7) beat Rauf Mamedov (Aze, 3.5); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3.5) drew with Wesley So (Usa, 5); Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 4) drew with Michael Adams (Eng, 3.5); Vladimir Kramnik (4) drew with Anish Giri (Ned, 3.5).