With two rounds left in 2015 Sinquefield Chess tournament, the fifth consecutive draw for Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand has only ensured that he cannot win now. By losing the first and second Rounds, Vishy Anand had weakened his position considerably and in not being able to force a single victory so far, he will continue to lie lower down the order in the points’ table. On Sunday, world champion Magnus Carlsen lost to Alexander Grischuk of Russia and slid down to no.2 spot, jointly shared with Dutchman Anish Giri, Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Russia’ s Grischuk. At this point, Armenia’s Levon Aronian sits pretty on top with the round-7 victory over USA’s Hikaru Nakamura. In other two matches, Italy’s Fabiano Caruna drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Bulgarian Topalov, Veselin also played a draw with Netherlands’ Anish Giri.
In his Round-7 encounter with USA’s Wesley So, Anand found himself surrounded with difficulties in the Ruy Lopez opening and Berlin Defense. However, the Indian was rather resourceful later on. He sacrificed his queen for a rook and a bishop. Later he also lost a pawn and his black king became a bit uncomfortable. But Wesley So’s pawns were weak and he could not advance further. Anand took advantage of So’s dilemma and created a strong fortress. The two players signed peace and the game was drawn.
With black pieces, world champion Magnus Carlsen played a rather strange game against Russia’s Alexander Grischuk. The Russian began with a Sicilian in the Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) attack mode. Carlsen didn’t like that position but managed a position, from where he could force a draw against the Russian. It looked like an endgame with equal pawns and opposite colored bishops. But the Norwegian became a bit careless and lost a pawn. Afterwards, Grischuk tortured Carlsen for a long time, until Carlsen blundered and lost.
Table topper Levon Aronian benefitted from Hikaru Nakamura’s strange opening and needlessly quick game. It was alright that Nakamura began with Ruy Lopez but by playing a quick game, the American landed himself in a somewhat dubious position. Aronian showed good judgment and placed his pieces on right squares while Nakamura kept getting into trouble. On the 40th move, Nakamura committed a decisive mistake and the Armenian used the opportunity to make a perfect break through.
In his Round-7 game against France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana settled for a Bb5+ Sicilian. With such a decision, the game quickly got transformed into a Spanish type position. The usual strategies of closed Spanish made the white and black pieces on the board equal to each other. MVL had made his stance too solid and Caruana found it difficult to pose any danger to the Frenchman. After 30 moves, a draw was agreed upon.
After two consecutive losses, Bulgarian Grand Master Veselin Topalov looked dejected in his Round-7 game against Netherlands’ Anish Giri. Topalov didn’t want another loss and therefore he played a safe game. Also since he had black pieces, he fell back on the old line of the anti-Grunfeld. Giri had begun with the English opening but the defensive play from Topalov led to nothing for either side. It was a very unexciting game that was drawn after 33 moves.
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