Anand beats Giri to finish third in Monaco

test sharma | Updated: March 25, 2011, 8:12 PM IST

Monaco: World Champion Viswanathan Anand crashed through the defences of Dutch youngster Anish Giri and finished third in the combined standings of the 20th and final Amber blindfold and rapid chess tournament here on Friday.

For the first time in the tournament, Anand won both the blindfold and rapid games making it impossible for his nearest rivals to breach his second spot in the blindfold and third in combined standings.

Levon Aronian of Armenia expectantly won the event, settling for two draws against Russian Sergey Karjakin in the final round.

Aronian, who enjoyed a full-point lead coming into the final round, had it easy and after Magnus Carlsen went down in the blindfold game against Boris Gelfand of Israel, the Armenian was set to win his third Amber title.

Aronian scored 15.5 points and remained a full point ahead of Carlsen in the overall standings. Anand finished third on 13 points in the 12-players double round robin event.

The top three were class apart from the rest as fourth place was shared between Alexander Grischuk of Russia and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine who tallied 11 points in all.

Aronian won the blindfold section, which was a mere formality anyways, finishing 1.5 points more than Anand while Carlsen won the rapid with a record 9.5 points.

Aronian also got second place in the rapid section while Anand finished joint third along with Ivanchuk and his last world championship challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

Anish Giri repeated an opening in his blindfold game against Anand that his second Loek van Wely had played against the Indian ace in the 2006 Amber tournament.

Playing the English opening, Giri deviated on the 10th move and introduced his new idea one move later. An interesting battle developed in which white had space but an awkward king and Anand wanting to develop counter play on the queenside as soon as possible.

Giri went astray on move 20 after which both players agreed he was essentially lost. White's position quickly fell apart and after 27 moves, when loss of a rook was imminent, Giri resigned.

Anand also won the rapid game. It was a Petroff wherein Anand didn't go for an impressive setup in his own words...

Giri's 20th move was a clear mistake. White won a pawn and when Black missed his last chance to get any play on move 27, the young Dutchman was fighting a hopeless battle.

Interestingly, Giri ended his Amber the way it had began for him: a 2-0 loss against eventual winner Aronian.

Results (final round):

Blindfold: Anish Giri (Ned) lost to V Anand (Ind); Magnus Carslen (Nor) lost to Boris Gefland (Isr); Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr) drew with Veselin Topalov (Bul); Vugar Gashimov (Aze) drew with Alexander Grischuk (Rus); Levon Aronian (Arm) drew with Sergey Karjakin (Ukr); Hikaru Nakamura (Usa) lost to Vladimir Kramnik (Rus).
Rapid: Anand beat Giri; Gelfand lost to Carlsen; Topalov beat Ivanchuk; Grischuk drew with Gashimov; Karjakin drew with Aronian; Kramnik lost to Nakamura.

Standings:

Combined: 1. Aronian 15.5; 2. Calrsen 14.5; 3. Anand 13.
Blindfold: 1. Aronian 8.5; 2. Anand 7: 3-5. Gashimov, Gelfand, Grischuk 6 each.
Rapid: 1. Carlsen 9.5; 2. Aronian 7; 3-5. Anand, Ivanchuk, Topalov 6 each.

First Published: March 25, 2011, 8:12 PM IST

Team Rankings

RankTeamPointsRating
1 India 4338 121
2 Australia 4797 109
3 South Africa 3528 107
4 England 5071 101
5 New Zealand 4011 98
FULL Ranking