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Sports Shorts: Anand goes joint fifth at Norway chess

Last updated on: June 10, 2019 17:13 IST

Summary of sports events and persons who made news on Monday

Anand proved why he is hailed as the speed king when he easily managed a draw in the Armageddon game as black and won 1.5-0.5 against Wesley

IMAGE: Anand proved why he is hailed as the speed king when he easily managed a draw in the Armageddon game as black and won 1.5-0.5 against Wesley. Photograph: File, Leuven Grand Chess Tour 2017

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand pulled off an easy win over Wesley So of United States to be joint fifth after the fifth round of the Altibox Norway chess tournament in Stavanger, Norway.

Anand proved why he is hailed as the speed king when he easily managed a draw in the Armageddon game as black and won 1.5-0.5 against Wesley.

With his third victory on the trot after two losses in the first two rounds, Anand took himself to joint fifth position in the super tournament that is for the first time trying out a format that gives decisive results in each round.

For Anand, the writing was on the wall in the Armageddon where he had seven minutes compared to 10 that Wesley got being white.

 

The 'draw-odds' being order of the day for black, Wesley was expected to go for the King. However, the Filipino-turned-American decided to fight on strategic grounds that did not work as a good idea.

Wesley chose an unorthodox queen pawn game and Anand had no troubles equalising out of the opening.

The pieces changed hands at regular intervals and the Indian ace was at his best in finding some wily manoeuvres that kept Wesley at bay. In the end, the players reached a rook and pawns endgame which was just a draw.

Meanwhile, reigning world champion and local star Magnus Carlsen continued with his winning ways and accounted for Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France in another Armageddon of the day.

All five games in the 10-player tournament were decided in the tiebreaker in the fifth round.

Carlsen took his tally to eight points with his fourth victory in the tiebreaker.

Yu Yangyi of China emerged on the second spot on 6.5 points with another fine performance that saw him get past Americal Fabiano Caruana.

Levon Aronian staged a comeback at the expense of Ding Liren of China to share the third spot along with Wesley on six points while Anand is now joint fifth with Ding Liren.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan stands on the seventh spot on 4.5 points a full point ahead of Caruana. Vachier-Lagrave is ninth with just three points. Alexander Grischuk of Russia is on 2.5 points and needs some big scoring in the remaining four rounds.

Results round 5: Wesley So (Usa, 6) lost to V Anand (Ind, 5); Ding Liren (Chn, 5) lost to Levon Aronian (Arm, 6);  Maxime vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 3) lost o Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 8); Yu Yangyi (Chn, 6.5) beat Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 3.5); Shakhriyayr Mamedyarov (Aze, 4.5) lost  to Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 2.5).

Venus Williams to make Birmingham debut

Venus Williams

IMAGE: Venus Williams. Photograph: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams will play in the Birmingham grasscourt event later this month after accepting a wildcard.

The American, 38, has never played in the competition before but will join French Open champion Ashleigh Barty and world number one Naomi Osaka in the draw as the build-up to Wimbledon continues.

"I'm really excited to be playing in Birmingham for the first time. I always love playing on grass in front of British crowds and have heard wonderful things about the tournament," the seven-times Grand Slam singles champion said.

Czech Petra Kvitova, a double Wimbledon champion, is also playing. Spain's former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza has withdrawn because of a left leg injury. The tournament runs from June 15-22.

WTA rankings: Ashleigh Barty rises to number two position

Australian Ashleigh Barty has risen to the number two position in the latest updated Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings on Monday. 

Barty now has 6350 points and has reached her career-best ranking of number two and she is now just 136 points away from the number one ranked tennis player Naomi Osaka (6486). Barty reached the number two position after winning her first Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros on Saturday. He just dropped two sets en route to becoming the first Australian woman to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973.

Three years ago, Barty re-entered the WTA rankings as world number 623. But the Australian has staged a stunning comeback in tennis history.

The 23-year-old Barty even won the Wimbledon junior title as a 15-year-old in 2013.

Apart from Barty, Marketa Vondrousova also witnessed a significant move as she climbed to the number 22 position from the 38th position. Vondrousova reached the finals of the French Open. but she was outclassed by Barty in the finals.

Johanna Konta jumped from the 26th position to the 18th position in the latest rankings. After reaching a career high of world Number 4, Konta's fortunes took a downturn for nearly two years. The British tennis player ended that year on a five-match losing streak, and by July 2018 she had sunk to No.50. 

But she was able to change her fortunes and she displayed good tennis in French Open, rising to the number 18 position.

Noami Osaka (6486), Ashleigh Barty (6350), Karolina Pliskova (5685), Kiki Bertens (5345), Petra Kvitova (4925), Angelique Kerber (4675), Elina Svitolina (3967), Simona Halep (3963), Sloane Stephens (3682) and Aryna Sabalenka (3565) round up the top ten in the latest WTA rankings.

USA hold Asian champions Japan, enter semis

USA continued their fine run and held Asian champions Japan 2-2 to qualify for the semi-finals as Pool B toppers in the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament in Bhubaneswar  on Monday.

The match between World No 18 Japan and World No 35 USA witnessed a hard-fought first two quarters but both the teams failed to break the deadlock till half-time.

Deegan Huisman (41st, 51st minutes) scored a brace for the Americans to give Japan a few nervous moments.

After Kenta Tanaka's goal in the 45th minute, Japan were made to fight hard and finally managed to draw level a minute before the final hooter through a penalty corner conversion by Shuguru Hoshi.

Both Japan and USA have seven points from three games but the Americans, who have impressed one and all in the tournament so far, finished on top by virtue of better goal difference.

USA, thus, directly qualified for the last-four round, while Japan will have to play the cross-overs to make it to the semi-finals.

First-half goals give Venezuela 3-0 friendly win over US

Venezuela scored three goals without reply in a whirlwind first half to grab a convincing 3-0 win over the United States in a friendly in Cincinnati on Sunday.

It was the first time the South Americans had beaten their North American rivals in six meetings.

Salomon Rondon got goals in the 16th and 36th minutes and Jefferson Savarino scored another in between with half an hour gone to give the Venezuelans the perfect send-off before next week’s Copa America in Brazil.

Venezuela are in Group A along with Peru, Bolivia and the host nation.

The United States' next match is their Gold Cup opener against Guyana on June 18.

Netherlands' De Ligt laughs off Ronaldo's Juve 'offer'

Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt, who is widely expected to leave Ajax Amsterdam in the coming weeks, said he was asked about a move to Italian champions Juventus by Cristiano Ronaldo at the end of Sunday's Nations League final.

Ronaldo's Portugal triumphed 1-0 in the showpiece match leaving the 19-year-old defender De Ligt, linked with several top European clubs, disappointed.

But television images showed Juve forward Ronaldo having a chat with the centre-half at the end of the game and the Dutchman confirmed a possible move to the Italian side had been raised by the five-times Ballon d'Or winner.

"I didn't understand him at first. I was a little shocked, so I laughed. But I didn't say anything," De Ligt told the Netherlands' NOS television.

"So soon after the game you are not at all concerned with it. You are disappointed that you have lost and that is the only thing you are thinking about," he added.

De Ligt's impressive performances for Ajax in their run to the Champions League semi-finals have made him one of the most wanted signatures in the transfer window.

But the defender said he had yet to make up his mind over his future and was in no hurry to do so.

"I don't mind that. The transfer period starts in a while, so I will first go on a nice vacation and rest. I will let it happen and then I will see," he said.

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