Five-time World champion Viswanathan Anand suffered an early jolt, losing to his former challenger Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the second round of Altibox Norway chess tournament in Stavanger, Norway.
It turned out to be a bad day for Anand, who earlier uncorked an interesting idea with his white pieces. However, the Indian missed the thread of the position at a crucial juncture and went down in the ensuing endgame.
Like in the first round, the second round too had just one decisive game and Kramnik emerged as the co-leader on 1.5 points alongside Hikaru Nakamura of United States, who drew with Levon Aronian of Armenia.
In other games of the day, World champion Magnus Carlsen played out a second draw on the trot with Fabiano Caruana of United States, Anish Giri of Holland opened his account after signing peace with Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France drew with Wesley So of United States.
With seven rounds still to go in the strongest tournament of the year, Vachier, Karjakin, Aronian, Wesley So, Caruana and Carlsen share the second spot on one point each having drawn both games while Anand and Giri share the ninth spot with half a point from two games.
Anand and Kramnik played for the first time in 1989 when six participants of this event were not even born. The rivalry between two most successful chess players of modern times continued yet again.
Anand opened with the king pawn and Kramnik did not go for his favourite Berlin defense. This prompted Anand to go for an interesting pawn sacrifice that was accepted by the Russian. As the game progressed Anand won back the pawn and reached only a slightly difficult endgame.
It was only on the 34th move that white made the decisive mistake. Anand grabbed a pawn leaving black with a passed pawn. Kramnik won after 60 moves.
Nakamura was in troubles but bailed out with stiff resistance against Aronian. The American was playing white but felt the heat on the king side with some deft manoeuvres by Aronian. The middle game was intense and Nakamura had to be on his toes to watch out one threat after another. However some timely exchanges liquidated to a level endgame.
Giri was close to romping home with a win but missed out as Karjakin lived up to his billing of 'master of defense'.
Caruana did not press much with white against Carlsen.
Results (Round 2):
V Anand (Ind, 0.5) lost to Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa, 1.5) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm, 1); Anish Giri (Ned, 0.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Rus, 1); Fabiano Caruana (Usa, 1) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 1); Wesley So (Usa, 1) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 1).
Image: Viswanathan Anand