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Wijk Aan Zee chess: Anand draws with Aronian, jumps to joint lead

January 24, 2011 11:09 IST

World Champion Viswanathan Anand played out a draw against Levon Aronian of Armenia in the eighth round to claw back to the top of the leaderboard in the 'A' group of 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournament at Wijk Aan Zee.

The draw helped Anand to join overnight leader Hikaru Nakamura of United States in the lead after the latter suffered his first loss in the tournament at the hands of World Number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

Anand and Nakamura jointly share the lead on 5.5 points, but Aronian, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave moved within striking distance of the leaders, a half point behind with five rounds still remaining in the category-20 tournament being played on round robin basis between 14 players.

The day yet again provided entertaining chess even though Anand did not get much with his white pieces against Aronian.

Up against the Marshall gambit, Anand liquidated to a pawn plus endgame out of the opening but Aronian always had enough resources to maintain the balance.

Carlsen stopped Nakamura's dream run with a clinical victory against the Sicilian Najdorf. Playing black, Nakamura felt the heat in the middle game as Carlsen started a king side attack and it became hard to handle once the Norwegian started a checkmate mission.

He gave a rook to force matters in what was a pretty finish. Amongst other interesting encounters of the day, Alexei Shirov of Spain secured his first victory in the tournament after a disastrous start at the expense of Alexander Grischuk of Russia while local lad Anish Giri came back strongly with a fine victory over Wang Hao of China.

In the 'B' group being held simultaneously, Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly played out a draw with Li Chao of China to inch to three points in this section out of a possible eight.

The lead positions changed here as youngster Wesley So of Philippines secured his fourth vitory on the trot to emerge as the sole leader on six points. Ganguly needs a miracle to make things work from this stage.

International Master Tania Sachdev, however, continued with her impressive run that has won her many fans in this coastal town. The Indian scored her fourth win in the category-11 tournament to remain in with a chance to get her second Grandmaster norm.

Tania defeated IM JW De Jong of Holland who is having a tough time in the tournament. Grandmaster Daniele Vocaturo seems to be on course for the title in this section with 6.5 points so far - his lone loss was against Tania in round six.

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