Anand held by Meier again; Caruana stretches lead
Desperately seeking victory with the white pieces, Anand yet again came close but could not continue the momentum to let his advantage slip.
Baden-Baden, Germany: World champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by Georg Meier of Germany for the second time in the Grenke Chess classic now underway here. Desperately seeking victory with the white pieces, Anand yet again came close but could not continue the momentum to let his advantage slip.
Lucky Fabiano Caruana yet again salvaged a lost position and turned the tables on Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany to stretch his lead to a full point with just two more rounds to go in the category-19 super tournament between six players. The other game of the eighth round ended in a draw between Daniel Fridman of Germany and Michael Adams of England.
Caruana with 5.5 points seems far ahead of second placed Anand, who has inched to 4.5 points. Naiditsch slipped to third spot again on four points but remained the most entertaining player in the tournament with his sixth decisive game out of a possible eight.
Adams and Meier are on fourth spot with 3.5 points, while Fridman is not far behind on three points. For Anand it was another case of a missed opportunity after a lot of hard work. Blitzing out the moves in a quick pace and with a flourish it was clear that Anand was well on top around move thirty.
The pundits felt it would just be a matter of time before Anand picked up one or more of Black's pawns and converted a full point. Meier was also playing quickly, with the players reaching the time control with 30 minutes to spare. Meier kept himself in contention and pushed his king rook pawn once Anand picked out the weak pawns on the queen side. It was a race ending in a dead heat as both players made queens simultaneously and the game was drawn on move 56.
Out of a Ruy Lopez exchange, Naiditsch had everything running for him in the middle game as he developed a dangerous initiative against Caruana's King. However, at a key moment the German missed a brilliant tactical stroke that would have ended the game in his favour.
Instead, Caruana crawled back in the game and slowly went on win amidst complexities. The game lasted 49 moves. In the other game of the day, Fridman was quite happy to hold fort against Adams after two successive losses. For the records it was a Nimzo Indian defense in which Adams equalised easily as black and the peace was signed in 37 moves.