After three draws in his first three rounds, Viswanathan Anand lost his fourth and fifth round matches in the third edition of GRENKE Chess Classic, currently underway in the German city of Baden-Baden. In the 8-player super-tournament, which concludes on February 9, 2015, the 2013 winner Anand is now placed at no.7 after five rounds. With just two rounds left, there is no way for Anand to improve his standing remarkably. Other than Vishy Anand, the chess classic participants are; World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Michael Adams, Etienne Bacrot, Arkadij Naiditsch and David Baramidze. Except for the rest day on February 5, each day had four matches and the fifth round matches were played on February 7. As per the tournament rules, each round has a 100-minute time control for 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game. If players were to finish on equal points, the tiebreak rules are; most wins, then most wins with Black, then the result of their game. As per the latest standings after 5 rounds, the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen leads the pack with 3½ points from 3 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw. Tied with Carlsen at the top is the German qualifier Arkadij Naiditsch, who created a sensation by beating Carlsen in round 3. Right behind them is Italy’s Caruna Fabiano with 3 points from a solitary win and 4 draws. Levon Aronian of Armenia, Michael Adams of England and Etienne Bacrot of France come next in the points’ tally with 2½ points each. Anand is seventh with 1½ and Germany’s David Baramidze has lost all his matches with no-score at eighth place.
Since the World Chess championship at Sochi in November, Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen came face to face for the first time in round 4 at Baden-Baden. Playing with Whites, Anand’s struggle against his nemesis continued. In the early stages of the game, Anand held a slight advantage with a locked center. During the game, Anand committed two blunders. First, he played the Stonewall Dutch. But soon, Carlsen returned to attacking mode with a bid on Anand’s queen side by advancing his pawn to the sixth rank. The plan appeared harmless for a while but this pawn caused heavy problems for Anand. The Indian was still in the game but the pressure of the pawn probably proved palpable as Anand blundered again on the 32nd move by playing Rd7 instead of Re6 and took himself to the position, from where the retreat was impossible. There was still a remote chance for Anand but he couldn’t see a defensive resource. He gave in after 36 moves to allow the World Champion take the glory yet again.
In his fifth round match against Levon Aronian on Saturday, Anand blundered once again after losing from a relatively strong position. The Indian adopted a strategy, in which he pushed his King’s side pawns up and surprised Aronian by mounting constant pressure. This made Aronian decidedly uncomfortable by the 22nd move. In the 23rd move, Anand should have played hxg3 as everyone was expecting and Aronian had planned for fxg3. But the Indian erroneously chose Nh6 and walked into a trap. Aronian got his chance and broke the move with e4. Suddenly, the entire game turned upside down in a couple of moves. It was a blunder that Anand should have absolutely avoided. But that allowed Aronian to dominate the game and Anand conceded defeat after the 28th move.
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